After a defensive showdown that lasted nearly three hours, the Marquette Golden Eagles (8-2-2, 5-1-1 BIG EAST) won their second NCAA Tournament game in program history Sunday afternoon with a 3-1 finish in penalty kicks.
First-year forward Beto Soto, junior forward Lukas Sunesson and junior midfielder Alan Salmeron scored the three penalty kicks that lifted head coach Louis Bennett’s squad over the Loyola Marymount University Lions (6-0-3, 5-0-2 WCC). Junior defender Dylan Shockey converted the lone PK for LMU.
The Lions entered the match having allowed just two goals all season, and their defensive prowess was on full display in regulation.
Marquette tallied just two shots through the first 45 minutes of play, both of which did not come on goal. The Golden Eagles also had just one opportunity from the corner before the break.
LMU made numerous pushes downfield into the box, but Chandler Hallwood always found himself in the right place at the right time. The redshirt sophomore goalkeeper made four saves to keep things scoreless heading into halftime despite 11 shots, four of which were on goal, from the Lions. Junior forward Ronaldo Brown had a team-high four shots in the first half.
The Lions came out aggressive in the second half, spending the majority of the period in the attacking third. They posted seven shots in the latter 45 minutes, two of which were on goal. Loyola Marymount had plenty of corner opportunities as well, tallying 12 corner kicks through the first 90 minutes of action.
Sunesson had the best scoring opportunity of the day for the Golden Eagles in the 69th minute, but the ball was deflected off the crossbar. It was Marquette’s only shot on goal in regulation.
Even though LMU maintained possession for the majority of the afternoon, Hallwood and the Marquette defense never broke down in regulation. The former Gannon University goalkeeper made another two saves in the second half and batted out a number of balls to prevent the Lions from taking a lead. After two periods, neither team was able to find the back of the net, and for the ninth time this season, MU headed to overtime.
Both teams had trouble finding rhythm in the first overtime period, but the Golden Eagles did have a couple of headers in the direction of the net from redshirt senior Oliver Posarelli and redshirt sophomore forward AJ Franklin. The two were not able to convert, and one overtime would not be enough to determine a victor.
The same trend continued in the second overtime period, as neither team could score the Golden Goal to advance to the next round, sending the match into penalty kicks.
Hallwood was amazing in PKs, allowing just one of four shots to get by. He finished with seven saves on the afternoon and played all 110 minutes. On the other side of the pitch, redshirt sophomore keeper Jacob Jackson also played the entirety of the match and made two saves, but was pulled for penalty kicks. Fellow redshirt sophomore Mitchell Wilson replaced him, and surrendered the three match-winning scores.
MU’s defense as a whole allowed them to advance. LMU outshot the Golden Eagles 22-9, had five more shots on goal and attempted seven more corner kicks, but Marquette still managed come out on top.
Marquette will now face the winner of the match between Indiana and St. Francis Brooklyn May 6 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. A start time has yet to be determined.
This story was written by Nick Galle. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @thenickgalle.