#34 Marquette Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

Marquette Golden Eagles

Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #7 Big East
Marquette Men's College Soccer 2012  Team Preview
Marquette Team Page


Marquette has managed to reach the Big East Tournament for three consecutive years, but they have never been able to take the next step and reach the NCAA Tournament. The last time they got to the big stage was in 1997 after taking home their first Conference USA title. That could all change this year. The Golden Eagles and Coach Louis Bennett return eight starters to a team that went 7-2-0 in conference play. They will need to have a better non-conference record to secure an at-large bid than they did last year, but this team has the firepower to do it.

2011 Record: 9-8-2, 7-2-0
2011 Postseason: None
Coach: Louis Bennett

And that firepower begins with sophomore C. Nortey. Nortey netted nine goals during his freshman campaign and is ready to burst onto the national scene. Nortey only took 32 shots as a freshman. Seventeen of them were on target and nine of them found the back of the net. That is efficiency in front of the net. Nortey can finish with the best of them, but the rest of the team needs to give him more quality chances. Without Calum Mallace and his team leading six assists, the pressure will fall to midfielders Bryan Ciesiulka, Ryan Robb and Anthony Selvaggi to help set up Marquette’s big goal scorer. This is a young squad, but Ciesiulka, who tallied five assists in 2011, is a junior and Robb and Selvaggi, who posted three assists in limited playing time, are two of just three seniors on the roster. Robb will be a four-year starter and his leadership in the middle of the pitch will go a long way. Speaking of seniors, Andy Huftalin is the other one and could join Nortey up front. Huftalin usually came in off the bench last season and he may play that role again if sophomore Kelmend Islami is ready to be a more efficient scorer. The midfield has even more weapons returning in Paul Dillon and Eric Pothast. Those two may not get too involved offensively, but combined to start all but one game in 2011.

The Golden Eagles should not have much trouble scoring goals, but the big question is how many they will give up. Keeper David Check is gone after starting for the last two seasons. Charlie Lyon, who started one game and made three appearances as a freshman is the next in line. At 6-2, Lyon is a big presence in-between the posts and he is full of potential. Incoming freshmen Brady Walsh and Mac Wheeler are the only other goalies on the roster. Even if the new keepers struggle, the defense should help them out. Pothast will spend most of his time in the back and will be joined by some new young talent, including his brother John. However, the most interesting prospect is 6-7 defender Axel Sjoberg. He began last year as a starter in the center of the defense but he broke his foot just a couple games into the season. Now healthy, Sjoberg will be a huge, figuratively and literally, boost to the defense. Dennis Holowaty is another young defender, but the sophomore did start 11 games a year ago.

Final Projection:
Much will depend on how quickly the defense can grow up. Many have some experience from last year, but they are a young group.  Despite the very young roster overall, the midfield and strikers can produce many experienced upperclassmen. The same cannot be said for the defense. It is a talented group in the back and they have a ton of potential, but as we saw last year, that potential must produce right away or Marquette will again be going into the Big East Tournament with their only shot of a postseason berth being a four game gauntlet through one of the toughest conferences in the nation.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: C. Nortey, Sophomore, F, 9
Assists: Bryan Ciesiulka, Junior, M, 5
Shots: Bryan Ciesiulka, Junior, M, 51
Saves: Charlie Lyon, Sophomore, GK, 4

Madness 2013 MLS Draft Rankings:
#42 James Nortey

Madness 2012 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#79 John Pothast