Road trip wreaks havoc

Dave Rossetti

By the time Flynn scored in the 64th minute, the Golden Grizzlies had already raced out to a four-goal lead, three of which came in a quick flurry between the 31st and 39th minutes. Ryan Rzepka, Chris Edwards and Brandon Felker all found the back of the net during that span, with Shahar Ktovim logging assists on the goals by Edwards and Felker.

“We played well for 30 minutes but that was not enough,” head coach Steve Adlard said. “We just couldn’t keep it going.”

Adlard was upset by what he felt was a blown offside call that freed Felker for the one-on-one chance against Marquette goalkeeper Adam Ubert, which led to the Golden Grizzlies’ third goal.

The officials “missed it and everybody relaxed because it was relatively obvious that he was offside,” he said. “In a sense, that was a bit of a body blow because it stretches the margin. At three (goals down), it’s much harder to get back into it.”

Philip Braathen scored his third goal of the season in the 53rd minute to round out Oakland’s scoring. The squad, ranked at No. 30, improved its record to 2-0-1 with the victory.

“They were very fluid, they were very smooth and they looked confident,” Adlard said. “They’re in the rankings and they deserve to be.”

Despite scoring only one goal in its past three matches, Marquette has not lacked scoring opportunities. The Golden Eagles managed 17 shots against Oakland, 11 of them on goal.

“We’ve had our opportunities,” Adlard said. “If you’re always chasing in a game, there’s a tendency to miss those chances.”

Adlard also voiced concern about fixing breakdowns in the team’s largely unproven defense that have made it difficult for Ubert to defend his position. In four starts this season, the senior captain has recorded 15 saves while allowing 13 goals.

“He really didn’t have many saves again,” Adlard said. “If we can encourage the other team to shoot the ball rather than give them goal scoring opportunities, I think we’d be in much better shape.”

As a three-year veteran who started as a freshman, Ubert realizes the importance of a mature defense that can help prevent easy goals.

“The (goals) that we do give up, the opposing team is in spots where they really can’t miss,” Ubert said.

Adlard said some of the team’s woes stem from the fact that the 14 freshmen on the team are still learning how to play soccer at the college level, while the returning players are learning new roles and how to lead their younger teammates.

Though it might be ugly at times, Adlard said he believes his team can make the necessary adjustments before the season is over.

“We’ve got a lot to learn,” he said. “The focus is good; we will work through this. We will learn our business and we will win games, but it’s going to take time.”

Ubert, one of six seniors, feels confident that the team is starting to feel comfortable with each other on the field, but realizes that the next step is finding a team mentality.

“It’s starting to come together,” Ubert said. “We’ve all just got to get on the same page.”

The Golden Eagles will open their home schedule against Conference USA opponent DePaul (1-2) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Valley Fields.