Eagles have ‘Wright’ stuff

Dave Rossetti

“He’s just been making it look easy — just hitting the ball where it needs to be,” senior forward Derek Gutierrez said of Lee.

Things didn’t look good for the Golden Eagles early. Wright State’s leading goal scorer, Paul-Anthony Perez, gave the Raiders a quick 1-0 lead when he fired a crossing pass from Troy Azuogu past senior goalkeeper Adam Ubert at the 1:20 mark.

Marquette continued to look sluggish until near the 15-minute mark. A free kick by Ubert was collected by Wright State without any challenge from a Marquette player, prompting several Golden Eagles to try to verbally spark their teammates.

One of those players, team captain Gutierrez, said he thought the team wasn’t mentally ready for the Raiders following a string of three Conference USA games.

“It started from the kickoff,” he said. “It wasn’t a good kickoff, and you could just tell that our heads weren’t in the game from the start. I think that a lot of times when you’re playing a team like a Wright State, though they have a good record (7-3), sometimes we don’t get ourselves mentally prepared for these games like we do against a St. Louis or a UAB.

“The fact that we came out kind of thinking, ‘We’re the better team, we’re going to just go out and do it’ may have been the reason we came out sluggish.”

After missing a few good chances early, Lee fielded freshman midfielder Bryan Dahlquist’s pass and snuck behind the defense to score the equalizing goal at 25:00 despite having his jersey tugged from behind by a beaten Raider defender.

Lee scored again in the 57th minute, putting a pass from senior midfielder Matt Darby on net from close range as he approached the goal.

“Lee was clearly a handful, and at full speed they couldn’t stop him,” said head coach Steve Adlard. “That’s a nice weapon on the day.”

Lee, whose second goal tied his career high of seven, credited his recent success to his teammates.

“It starts in back,” he said. “Our defense has really been holding it down the last couple games, our midfield’s been playing well, everyone has been. They’re just giving me the ball at the right times and it’s been working out.”

Though Lee went down badly favoring his ankle in the 71st minute, Adlard said the injury wasn’t severe. The injury came at a good time for the Golden Eagles, who don’t play again until Oct. 15 against Wisconsin.

“I’ve got eight days to heal up,” Lee said.

Held to four shots for the game, the Raiders had one last possession in Marquette’s half of the field with 40 seconds remaining. They played a long ball toward goal that was controlled by Ubert, who had two saves — both in the first half.

“They seemed to run out of ideas,” Adlard said. “Probably being a goal down late, they didn’t have the confidence to say, ‘We can do this.’ They sort of went for the jugular with the long ball.”

Despite the win, Adlard said the 6-5-1 and C-USA leading Golden Eagles weren’t at their sharpest and may have been struggling with fatigue.

“I suspect that the pressure and the rigor of the last few days have taken their toll,” he said. “We had to dig deeper and find out if there was water in the well. Was there water in the well? To some extent there was.”