49ers undermine Eagles

The men's soccer team let a golden opportunity to pick up its first Conference USA victory blow away Saturday night against Charlotte at Valley Fields.

After weathering Charlotte's attack and a driving wind that stopped free kicks in mid air and deposited them 20 yards short of the intended target, Marquette began the second half with the score tied 1-1 and the wind at its back.

"We went into the second half tied even though we had bad conditions. We had to take advantage of that. Unfortunately we didn't," said senior defender Danny Mullin.

Marquette's window of opportunity closed in the 68th minute, when Charlotte's Adam Ruud buried a penalty kick past the outstretched arms of Marquette freshman goalkeeper Steven Grow. The goal gave Charlotte a 2-1 victory over the Golden Eagles in front of 394 spectators on a frigid Parents' Night.

Sophomore midfielder Evan Harding set up the decisive goal, sending a long ball to Ruud that allowed the junior forward to break in on the Golden Eagles' net.

In the ensuing footrace, it appeared that Mullin caught Ruud, won the ball and watched Ruud trip over the ball. However, that's not what the referee saw from midfield. Louis Labbadia whistled Mullin for a foul and sent Rudd to the penalty spot.

"I don't believe it was a legitimate PK," Mullin said. "Considering his angle it looked like I pushed the kid over and he felt obligated to make the call. If he had been a little closer, he might have seen it differently."

Marquette had plenty of chances to net a second goal of its own.

In the 57th minute, freshman defender Mike Carlson's throw-in reached Mike Manone at the back post, but 49ers' junior goalkeeper Josh Beachem denied the shot.

Less than a minute later, Manone, a freshman forward, had another chance turned away by the Charlotte goalie. With his body a few feet in the air and parallel to the ground, Beachem deflected Manone's drive with his foot.

"When you create that many good opportunities from close in, you got to convert," head coach Steve Adlard said. "I think if you go 2-1 up, the other team is really stretching against the wind and then it goes significantly in our favor."

Another quality scoring opportunity came with just over seven minutes to play, when the ball was crossed to sophomore forward Ryan DuBois on the back post. But he didn't score, either.

The only time the ball got past Beachem was in the 33rd minute when sophomore forward Matt Blouin headed in a cross from Manone for his third goal of the season.

"I think there was a mix up in the box," Blouin said. "Mike Manone found the ball and I just separated myself from the defender. It was just a simple tap-in header."

Blouin's goal tied the score at one and came 10 minutes after Charlotte had scored the first goal of the night on a set piece.

After senior forward Chris Lee was whistled for a foul, 49ers' sophomore midfielder Blake Smith sent the free kick into the box for Mira Mupier.

"The ball went over our heads," Mullin said. "We sagged with the play, but there was some confusion over whether Steve was coming out or if we should go back. We got caught half way."

Grow stopped the senior forward's first shot, but Mupier scored on the rebound.

The Golden Eagles will get a chance to bounce back from the loss and earn their first C-USA win of the season Wednesday when they travel to DePaul to face the Blue Demons at 2 p.m.