Struggling men head to No. 5 Marquette
Right in the midst of the toughest stretch in their schedule, the men’s soccer team will take on Marquette this weekend, their third of five straight games against opponents ranked in the top 10 of the country.
The Pirates hold an all-time record of 3-2-2 against Marquette, and it’s going to take a big effort for the full 90 minutes to keep the series in the Pirates’ hands.
Marquette is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation with a record of 12-1-0, their only loss coming at the hands of Georgetown. Head coach Gerson Echeverry knows how much of challenge this match will be, but acknowledges that it is one his team must face for the benefit of the players.
“We saw them against Providence; we saw what they did to them,” Echeverry said. “Obviously we’re going to be scouting their next game, I believe it’s Pittsburgh, so we’ll take a look at that game, we’ll see how it is. They’re a similar opponent that we had. We saw what they did against Louisville, and what are some of their tendencies are. We’ll see how this game against Pittsburgh looks and then we’ll make our preparations accordingly. They’re a team that’s been on a streak, they’ve been unbelievable at home and so it’s an uphill battle. But it’s a battle that we have to face for our kids to able to do as well as they can.”
Sophomore defender Mateusz Brela is aware of the grueling schedule ahead, but believes if everything is in place, the Pirates can contend with their highly ranked counterparts.
“We’ve been preparing ourselves along the way and the game against Notre Dame just wasn’t what we wanted it to be, but we just have to move on,” Brela said. “I don’t think we deserved to lose 6-1 and so we now we just put this game aside and focus on the game against Marquette. I’m sure we can beat these guys. Georgetown showed that they’re beatable, they won against them on Saturday, and so if we come out with the right mentality and everyone is on the same page I think there will be no problem.”
Although the end of the regular season schedule seems frightening, Echeverry believes these games are crucial for the player’s development and he feels there’s nothing to be afraid of heading into these games.
“For our guys it’s a test to see where it is that they stack up,” Echeverry said, “and also what it is that we’ve attempted to do this year if we are headed in the right direction. It’s not something for us to be afraid of I think it’s a challenge we need to look to- wards and again we’ll see where the chips fall at the end of these games.”
Brela echoed that feeling, acknowledging that playing against tougher opponents can make you feel good about yourself, especially when you see positive results.
“I absolutely think that it’s only going to make us better,” Brela said. “Because playing against, I would say technically better teams than you in the rankings, always make you feel better. If you can get some results, it’s a big accomplishment.”
Dennis Chambers can be reached at dennis.chambers@ student.shu.edu.