Golden Eagles fall to Tigers on the prowl

The prognosticators are probably scratching their heads after Saturday night's game between Marquette and Memphis.

The Tigers entered the season ranked ninth in the Conference USA Preseason Poll but after three league games bare no resemblance to the second worst team in the conference.

Memphis remained undefeated in C-USA play by topping Marquette 3-1 at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex thanks to strong performances by junior midfielder Dayton O'Brien, who was named to the College Soccer News Team of the Week Sept. 26, and preseason all-C-USA selection Andy Metcalf.

O'Brien was named to the College Soccer News Team of the Week Sept. 26 and Metcalf, a junior forward, was a preseason all-C-USA selection.

Saturday night at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis O'Brien and Metcalf showed why, combining to score three goals and leading the Tigers past Marquette 3-1.

"Metcalf is very gifted and O'Brien serves balls no one else in the conference can do," Marquette's head coach Steve Adlard said.

"Sometimes a team has game breaking players you don't and a game plan you'd like."

Memphis got on the board 10 minutes and 48 seconds into the match when Metcalf got around Marquette freshman goalkeeper Andy Kroll and slipped the ball into an empty net.

Less than two minutes later Metcalf picked up the game winner from the left side of the goal on an assist from senior Daniel Dobson.

The onslaught didn't end there. O'Brien scored his fourth goal of the season at 18:57 on a cross from freshman Brad Phillips.

"Andy had no chance on the second or third goal, they buried their shots, but they were situations that shouldn't have happened" Adlard said.

Adlard noted that the breakdown stemmed from mistakes made not on defense, but offense.

"We were in an attacking situation but they countered and scored," he said. "… When we're attacking we aren't thinking about the implications of a counter."

Despite the early deficit the Golden Eagles got themselves back into the game when sophomore forward Matt Blouin, the team's third leading scorer a year ago, netted his first goal of the season with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half.

"I was sitting on the back line with their back defender," Blouin said. "(Freshman forward) Mike Manone took a shot and I followed it in hopes of getting a deflection.

"It took the perfect deflection and went to my feet. I turned to the inside and shot it as fast as I could. I poked it past their goalie."

Added Adlard: "It's encouraging that he got it in. It's a monkey off his back. Hopefully in the next game some of the pressure will be on him and less on (senior forward Chris) Lee."

Marquette generated a number of scoring chances later in the match including a diving header by Blouin, that could have trimmed the Tigers' lead even more, but the Tigers' defense held firm.

"We had a few good chances but their goalie made a few good saves," junior midfielder Matt Soper said. "The game would have been different if we scored a goal before the half."

Instead of dwelling on the missed opportunities, Soper is looking ahead to Wednesday's game at Wisconsin-Green Bay and Sunday's match against C-USA rival East Carolina.

"We're not happy with the results and being winless in the conference," Soper said. "It's frustrating, but the season's not over. We have five more conference games to go."