Eagles set to visit Wave United, 2 alums

When the men's soccer team visits the Milwaukee Wave United for its last game of the spring Wednesday at Uihlein Soccer Park, the contest will carry more meaning than the typical off-season tilt.

That's because Marquette soccer alums Steve Lawrence and Sean Reti, both members of the Wave United, will be on the opposite side of the pitch from their collegiate team.

Lawrence, who is in his second year with the Wave United, said he's looking forward to the chance to line up against his former teammates.

"Going back and playing against the school you used to play for, you want to go out and prove that this is what it takes to be at the next level," said Lawrence, Conference USA's Co-Defender of the Year in 2002. "I want to show the younger kids that people from Marquette can make it to the next level and they can succeed there."

Thus far in their preseason contests against collegiate teams, the Wave United — the defending Central Division champion — has dominated its opposition. They dispatched Wisconsin, 5-1, and Wisconsin-Parkside, 6-0, over the weekend after opening their schedule with a 3-0 win against Northwestern.

"I think we're going to have a good year this year," Lawrence said. "(The results) just show we have a good nucleus coming back."

The Golden Eagles have also looked sharp lately, earning two solid results last week.

Wednesday at Valley Fields, the team played Wisconsin-Green Bay to a 0-0 tie and earned a 3-2 victory over the Wisconsin Olympic Development Program's team of 18-year-olds.

Men's soccer coach Steve Adlard, who coached both Lawrence and Reti, said he's been thrilled with his team's recent play.

"I've been very pleased with the progress people have made and I feel that we are past that apprenticeship kind of stage," he said. "We're not baby-sitting in their style of play anymore."

C-USA All-Freshman team defender Nathan Sabich agreed that the Golden Eagles have been improving all preseason and are ready to test themselves against the Wave United.

"We're playing a lot quicker and there's a lot more intensity among teammates," he said. "There's more urgency. We keep control of the game. We dominate the game, pretty much."

Adlard said the game will be a great chance for the team — especially its younger players — to realize the difference in intensity between the college and professional game.

"Only when you step outside of (the college) arena do you realize that there is a different way of playing," he said. "It's kind of like college (basketball) players playing the NBA players. It's a different game."

Last year's conference-leading scorer, junior forward Chris Lee, is still nursing a hamstring injury suffered April 17, Adlard said. Lee is improving, however, and Adlard anticipates that Lee will have opportunities to challenge his former teammate, Lawrence.

"I think that will be a wonderful opportunity for Lee to show that he is very quick off the mark and very balanced and that he can be a handful," Adlard said.

Fans traveling from the Marquette area can get to Wednesday's game at Uihlein Soccer Park, 7101 W. Good Hope Rd., by taking I-43 North and exiting at Good Hope Road, then turning left. The soccer park is three miles down the road. Admission is free and the game beings at 5 p.m.