Men score four in home opener

Dave Rossetti

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“We played very well,” head coach Steve Adlard said. “There was a lot of pressure on us prior to the game because of our frailty to defend and a little bit (because of) our immaturity – if we allowed a goal, our heads were down.”

The team’s defense showed few signs of its early season weakness Wednesday, limiting DePaul to a mere seven shots for the match and only two at the half. Goalkeeper Adam Ubert recorded four saves to log his first shutout of the season.

Citing now-healthy defender Andy Wagner, who has been playing with nagging injuries all season and missed time recovering from a concussion, as a standout, Adlard said he felt the whole defense played “particularly well.”

Senior captain Matt Darby said the team’s seniors spoke just before the game about finding a way to help the young team come together. Of the 27 players on the roster, 14 are freshmen.

“We’ve got to show everybody through leadership how to play and we did that tonight,” he said. “We’ve been here for four years, and if anyone’s going to step up it’s going to be us.”

Darby, one of six seniors on the team, said he felt the time was right for the team to show what it can really do on the field.

“It was our first home game, our first C-USA game and, for (the seniors), our last home opener,” he said. “And really, I thought, the first game we played to our potential and really were clicking on all cylinders.”

In addition to the improved defense, the Golden Eagles offense showed moments of brilliance as well. Though Adlard previously said that the team had been getting scoring chances and simply not capitalizing during its road trip, he was impressed with the team’s offensive performance Wednesday.

“The goals we scored, each one of them was spectacular in their way,” Adlard said.

Sophomore Blair Kohlmeyer scored twice for the Golden Eagles, first on a lunging header from close range off a Darby pass from the right side, and again in the 86th minute on a feed from freshman Ryan Nikchevich in front of the goal. Kohlmeyer leads the team with four goals.

Junior Chris Lee, who left the game with a concussion following a nasty collision with DePaul’s Tim Blake, scored in the 11th minute following a running header from Derek Gutierrez. Adlard said that Lee lost consciousness after the hit, on which Blake received a yellow card, and that he will probably be held out of action for the next week.

Freshman Matt Blouin scored his first collegiate goal in the 78th minute.

The Golden Eagles (2-3, 1-0 in C-USA) continue their home stand at 7 p.m. Saturday against Evansville, the university where Adlard began his coaching career as an assistant from 1982-86.

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