Dec. 1, 2013
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Eighth-seeded Virginia (12-5-5) defeated No. 9 Marquette University (13-6-2) by a final score of 3-1 with 10 men Sunday in the Third Round of the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship at KlÃƒÆ'Ã†'Â¶ckner Stadium.
With the loss, the 2013 BIG EAST regular-season and tournament champions are eliminated from the NCAA tournament. Virginia advances to the quarterfinals later this week and will face the winner of the Connecticut vs. top-seeded UCLA.
Virginia central defender Matt Brown was sent off 57 seconds after the opening kickoff for a tackle from behind on MU striker C. Nortey, who was on a breakaway, and Bryan Ciesiulka's ensuing free kick from 22 yards was wide left.
Despite playing a man down, the six-time national champions prevented the Golden Eagles from playing their familiar style of soccer by pressuring the ball and displaying an effective attack.
Virginia took advantage on one of MU's 12 first-half fouls when the left-footed Scott Thomsen found the upper-left corner of the netting on a free kick from 25 yards out to give the home side a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.
Moments earlier, the Golden Eagles had a flurry of activity inside the box originating from a corner kick by Virginia native Paul Dillon. The first touch by Nortey was cleared off the line by a Cavaliers defender. Eric Pothast collected the rebound, but his shot on goal resulted in a diving save by UVa. goalie Calle Brown. Louis Bennett II also had a shot blocked and Ciesiulka's strike from the right corner of the 18 was saved during the sequence.
Darius Madison doubled Virginia's advantage less than two minutes into the second half. Eric Bird sent a long cross into the penalty area from near the left corner flag. Madison beat his marker to the ball and volleyed it inside the near post.
Nortey gave Marquette a lifeline in the 53rd minute, although any momentum the Golden Eagles gained didn't last long. Axel Sjoberg played a through ball to the left wing and Nortey slotted it past Brown with a low shot across the goal to make it 2-1. It was Nortey's 10th tally of the campaign, a single-season career high.
But Virginia was awarded a penalty kick 20 seconds after MU got on the board when Marcus Salandy-Defour was tackled inside the box. Todd Wharton stepped up and converted on the PK attempt; Lyon guessed correctly, but was unable to reach Wharton's shot inside the left post.
Marquette finished with a 13-11 shot advantage and a 7-3 margin on corner kicks. It was the second straight year the Golden Eagles qualified for the NCAA tournament and their first-ever appearance in the Round of 16.
Marquette starters: Lyon (GK), Dillon, Sjoberg, Ciesiulka, Islami, Nortey, E. Pothast, Wahl, Hermsen, Bennett II, Navarro; Subs: Holowaty, Lysak, Jansson, Taylor.
Quotes from head coach Louis Bennett:
"Immediately, we went a man up, and I knew it was going to change the tactics of the game, and in fact, maybe it was going to be more difficult. The game for [Virginia] didn't have to change after the first minute. They sat in nicely and then they broke on us and there weren't spaces that we thought we'd have. So we had to adjust, and in adjusting you have to be patient. The more the game goes on when you're a man up, the more that expectation is that you'll break through. Unfortunately, they broke through first with a wonderful free kick around the wall."
"We had opportunities and we had chances. There were points in the game -- they're called momentum-changing points - that I think Virginia took advantage of and we didn't. Credit goes to Virginia. They're very explosive and a good program. Virginia is a very dangerous team going forward, and we knew that about them. They have some very good players, and they looked pretty dangerous on the break."
"We increased our corner count in the last 20 minutes, and we felt like we could score goals, but unfortunately, we weren't right on point with our corners. That prevented us from creating clear-cut opportunities. We couldn't get our headers and our guys free. Had we got one of those corners and gone to 3-2, then I think that makes the last 15 minutes really interesting."
"We're out, and that's some hard medicine to take. What is going to heal this, is that we're just now graduating one of the best classes, as a whole, that we've ever had at Marquette. They've been the most successful. They've gone the furthest in the NCAA and the first to get to the Sweet 16. Once the bitter disappointment of this result filters out, I think we will look back at this year and talk about what a fantastic year it was."