Evan Conway’s two goals were vital in erasing a 3-0 first-half deficit, helping the Panthers eventually earn a 3-3 draw against Marquette in the 44th battle for the Milwaukee Cup Wednesday evening at Valley Fields.
The Panthers earned the first four shot attempts of the game, but Marquette quickly turned things around. Daniel Szczepanek netted goals in the 16th and 27th minutes. The Golden Eagles did not wait much longer for another goal when they made it 3-0 at the 28:57 mark.
Milwaukee finally made a dent when Conway scored his first goal of the night off of a crossing pass from Sean Reynolds in the 34th minute, making it a 3-1 Marquette advantage heading into the break.
“We had to regroup at halftime,” said Milwaukee Head Coach Kris Kelderman. “We decided we had to go for this and the guys came out with great energy and created a good number of chances.”
Following the halftime period, the freshman Conway picked right where he left up when he made it 3-2 at the 60:14 mark, sending a left-footed shot to the far post on the left side of the goal.
Conway almost had a hat trick, volleying a blast out of the air but was robbed by a phenomenal save from Marquette goalkeeper Luis Barraza.
Kelderman praised Conway’s ability to regroup after a few tough opening games.
“Evan Conway is a dangerous player,” said Kelderman. “I know what he is capable of doing. He has had a tough start to the season but he turned the corner tonight.”
Milwaukee eventually tied the game in an unconventional way with five minutes remaining when an own goal by the Marquette defense trickled past the white line. Evan Duiardin sent a hard service into the box from the right sideline that then deflected off of a back line defender and into the net.
Both teams would have opportunities to go ahead in the extra sessions. Milwaukee goalkeeper Sam Glass made a brilliant save in the first overtime, his fifth save of the night. Marquette was denied again just seconds later when a shot reflected off the cross bar.
Francesco Saporito had a chance that was footed over the cross bar in the 103rd minute, while Nick Moon sent a shot wide in the 107th minute after a quality set up from Saporito on the left wing.
Despite not being able to claim the victory, Kelderman was satisfied with his team’s resilience and willingness to come away with a point.
“We were down 3-0,” said Kelderman. “For the guys to fight back and tie that, that does not happen very often in soccer.”
Milwaukee was edged 22-21 in the shot column and was also narrowly behind in shots on gaol at 8-to-7. The Panthers earned 3-of-11 corner kicks on the night. Conway led the way with a team-high six shots, whil eMoon ended with five.
The Panthers return to Horizon League action Saturday, hitting the road to take on Northern Kentucky. Kick off is set to begin at 6 p.m. CST and will be featured on an ESPN3 broadcast.