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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Men's Soccer 2, Marquette 0

Frustration magma turns Golden for Friars

Lately idle offense perks up to help edge Marquette

To start their straight-up intra-division stretch drive, the Friar Footballers were wholly afflicted with mad-dog bites by the Georgetown Hoyas and almighty Connecticut Huskies. What would have preferably been opportunities to help start shaping the playoff picture in the straightest manner instead turned into fidgety surplus conditioning sessions.

That trend appeared to continue in their return home Saturday against Marquette, the offense watching its scoreless spell born way back on September 28 in the waning minutes of a win over Syracuse, live on well into the second half.

Since that season-best 3-1 home triumph of the Orange, definitive offensive nucleus Ryan Maduro’s magnet for primed, swarming defenders snowballed in visibility. Consequently, the Friars played to a scoreless draw with St. John’s in their last home tilt September 28 before they endured the two aforementioned falls by an aggregate 5-0. On pure statistical grounds, Wednesday’s 3-0 pasting in Storrs was their deepest pits on the year.

But Maduro finally cracked that throttling bubble in the 64th minute Saturday and, true to form, led his club to an eventual 2-0 pinning of the Golden Eagles at Glay Field. The insurance conversion came within the final 13 minutes of play off the cleat of a fresh-off-the-bench freshman Alex Redding, his first collegiate pair of points.

Whatever temporary plague the PC strikers’ corps may have had, Marquette would lack sympathy for it. Although Redding’s “welcome to the Big East” goal made him merely the 9th Friar to pitch in a statistical contribution this season, his club, at least, has amassed a grand total of 13 on the year; enough to now pull them back to .500 in conference play (3-3-1) and, depending on West Virginia’s fate against the Hoyas (7:00 start Saturday), lift them back up into the third slot of the Blue Division.

The Golden Eagles roster, conversely, has spread their wealth over a dozen players, but that wealth has been a plebeian-level seven goals in twelve overall games. Saturday’s loss, at best, keeps them in 7th place.

While those soft-boiled stats on the visitors’ part showed through the first half, Maduro’s boiled-over hankering earned him two inciting up front tests of goaltender Matt Pyzdrowski with only ten minutes gone. None of Marquette’s attempts would reach Providence keeper Timothy Murray until the 40:15 mark when Murray was required to make a leaping snag of Michael Greene’s straightaway boot.

The near rerun of the Maduro show carried on through PC’s mostly consistent swarming of the offensive end (3 corner kicks and a few foul-induced free kicks taken by associate Justin Kahle). But all that, plus a dying minute rush attempt by Redding in the left alley that was smothered and pushed out of bounds by a trio of pursuing Eagles, ended up leaving the brimful Glay Field throngs hanging.

After a quick drop-in from the Friars to start the second frame, Marquette mustered a lengthy settlement in Providence territory, but watched two of three shot attempts soar clear of the fence and repetitive fouling put the ball back in the Friars clutch after a while.

At 62:47, PC coach Chaka Daley went all out on an impending Toussaint McClure throw-in and inserted three fresh pairs of legs –one of them Redding’s- for the renewed attack. Stationed at the sideline before the home bleachers, McClure proceeded to thrust the ball to Maduro, whose immediate kick briefly vanished into a scrum. But as he charged forward, it popped back out and dribbled his way for him to knock into the lower right portion of the cage, putting Providence on the board with his fourth shot on the net of the game.

The game suddenly settled into temporary limbo after that, but within another fifteen minutes, the Friars broke out for another onslaught. Freshman midfielder Nick Cianci toured the ball across the center line and forwarded it to Redding in the right alley. Redding circumvented Bernard Rahming after the defender had him a prolonged lockup and cut to the net to lob a high shot in off the crossbar. It ended up awkwardly brushing the top mesh before fluttering down and in after a few seconds of uncertainty, during which onlookers from both sides crashed in an effort to confirm the play had tilted their way.

It all went PC’s way this time. And if they are to keep things their way, they will come to staple their consistency in the four remaining conference contests.

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