Golden gauntlet

Men's soccer coach Steve Adlard is at a loss.

After watching his team play well for stretches against Saint Louis — the No. 4 team in the country — on Sept. 4, and have a good week of practice, he was confident the players could put together a solid 90-minute effort and earn their first victory of the season.

It did not take long for Oakland University, the Golden Eagles' opponent Friday night at Valley Fields, to dash that hope. The Golden Grizzlies scored twice in the first six minutes and held on to win, 2-0, in front of 358 fans.

"The first five minutes were so disappointing because with all of the preparation, all the pre-game talk, the motivational speeches, everything was in place to go out there and just go after the game," Adlard said.

However, "we started so tentative and so lethargic. We gave up two very soft goals and obviously from that point on it was an uphill battle," he added.

Four minutes and 21 seconds into the game Golden Grizzlies junior forward Chris Edwards received a pass from Brady Vance in front of the goal and beat Marquette freshman goalkeeper Andy Kroll for the game winner.

"We had possession of the ball at their end and then turned it over," said senior defender Danny Mullin. "It (the ball) came out wide and we were slow in recovery. We failed to put pressure on the ball and that creates problems.

As a result "they had the ability to get the ball across the face of the goal and poke it in," Mullin said.

Just over a minute later, Vance did it again.

The play started when Oakland junior goalkeeper Jeff Wiese, who was not pressured by Marquette's forwards, dribbled the ball out of his box and drove it down the right sideline, over the Golden Eagles' back line.

Oakland senior midfielder Shahar Ktovim ran onto the ball near the corner and crossed it. The ball skipped past Edwards, but Vance, who was standing right beside him, buried it from five yards out.

Shortly after surrendering the second goal, Kroll left the match with a mildly separated left shoulder.

Fellow freshman net minder Steven Grow replaced Kroll. The Olathe, Kan., native played well in his collegiate debut, stopping four shots. It didn't matter because the Golden Eagles failed to score for the third game in a row.

"Teams we're playing cash in on half opportunities," Adlard said. "Whereas we stumble with those half opportunities and sometimes don't even get a shot off. In other words we don't recognize it's an urgent (situation)."

The team had a surge of second half pressure despite playing withough Chris Lee, Marquette's leading scorer last season with 14 goals, on the field.

The senior forward left the match in the 18th minute and didn't return because of a laceration in his mouth that required stitches.

Even when Lee was on the field he struggled to create chances for himself and his teammates.

"At this point in time he's forcing it," Adlard said. "It gets very congested in there because he draws attention because he has a reputation. That's a huge consideration because everywhere he turns there's going to be two or three guys."

Lee's lack of production in the early going has been a surprise, but it doesn't compare with the shock of losing the game to Oakland in the first six minutes or starting the season 0-3.

"It's a terrible wake-up call," Grow said. "We had a great training week, but once the whistle blew it was a little uneasy. We need to know the game plan, know what we're going to do and then go out and do it."

The Golden Eagles next match is Friday at 7 p.m. in Des Moines, Iowa against Drake.