MU squad savors split

The men's soccer team entered the Ameritas Classic believing the weekend tournament would provide a great opportunity to turn its season around.

The players knew strong performances at Drake, the 25th ranked team in the country two weeks ago, and at Creighton, No. 16 in the National Soccer Association of America/Adidas Rankings, would prove they were better than their 0-3 record indicated and bolster the team's morale.

Thanks to a 2-0 victory over Drake Friday night, a hard fought 2-1 loss to Creighton Sunday afternoon and a great team effort in both matches, they did just that.

"The team has improved so much from the beginning of the season," senior forward Chris Lee said. "We're a completely different team. The attitude of the team has totally changed."

Things are looking up because the offense — led by Lee — found the back of the net three times over the weekend. The Golden Eagles had been shut out in their three previous games.

Lee's first goal of the weekend came in the 31st minute against Drake. Sophomore midfielder Bryan Dahlquist created the scoring chance by playing a ball behind the Bulldog defense for Lee. He beat a few defenders and then the goalie with a shot inside the far post to put the Golden Eagles up 1-0.

"He's coming along," head coach Steve Adlard said. "It's good for his confidence. He thrives on scoring. He draws a double team, and that means someone else is open. Hopefully they can start taking the pressure off him."

In the 60th minute Adlard got his wish.

Blair Kohlmeyer brought the ball down the right side of the field and crossed it to Lee in front of the goal. Freshman goalkeeper Justin Howell blocked Lee's shot from the penalty box, but he could not stop freshman Erik Ruiz.

The freshman defender was left unmarked. He made the Bulldogs pay for the mistake by driving home his first collegiate goal.

"It felt great to score," Ruiz said. "It was a big game, and I sealed the game with that goal."

Adlard was impressed by all of the freshmen.

Ruiz "was in the right place at the right time," Adlard said. "He played very good. (Freshman defender) Mike Carlson was outstanding and (freshman forward) Mike Manone played well. The freshmen added value."

Another first-year player who had an impact on the game was Steven Grow. Starting in place of injured freshman Andy Kroll, Grow made two saves and earned the shutout.

Grow also played the entire 90 minutes against Creighton, but he didn't have as much luck against the Bluejays.

"Both goals were scored on low crosses in the box," Grow said. "I came out to get them and I got to them, but they had unmarked players that put the ball in the back of the net. I felt I did all I could have."

A little over nine minutes into the game Creighton senior Kama Bennah drove a low shot past Grow from 15 yards out. The play started when Grow punched out a crossing pass by freshman Tim Bohnenkamp.

Bohnenkamp caused more problems for the Golden Eagles defense in the second half.

In the 74th minute, sophomore Jarod Tarver sent a crossing pass to freshman midfielder Tony Schmitz in front of the net. Schmitz didn't get a piece of the ball, but he distracted Grow and allowed Bohnenkamp to bury the decisive goal.

Marquette's lone goal of the match came 4 minutes and 50 seconds into the game when Lee converted a penalty kick. He was awarded the shot after a Creighton defender pulled him down on a breakaway.

"I would say it was a pretty questionable call, but I've been taken down a couple times in the box this year and haven't gotten the call," Lee said.

The Golden Eagles' next match is Wednesday against Illinois- Chicago at Valley Fields at 7 p.m.