Blouin stakes Eagles’ victory

Call it a forward's intuition.

After sitting out Friday's 2-0 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats with a deep calf bruise, Matt Blouin was itching to get into Sunday afternoon's match because he had the sense something good would happen.

"I told the trainers before the game I was going to score," said Blouin, a junior forward. "I just had a good feeling about it. I don't know why. I think it's because I sat out Friday and I realized how much that sucked."

Midway through the first half Blouin got his chance. Minutes after subbing in for Duncan Silvert-Noftle, he one-timed a deflected cross into the back of the Louisville net to put Marquette ahead 1-0. Blair Kohlmeyer added a goal in the second half, and the Golden Eagles defeated the Cardinals 2-1 for their first win in the Big East Conference.

A pair of goals in one game might not seem like much, but by this season's standards two goals is an offensive outburst. In the first seven games of the season, Marquette (4-3-1, 1-2-1) had scored just four goals and never tallied more than one goal in a match.

"We scored two good goals, and I think we could have scored a couple more," said men's head coach Steve Adlard. "That was encouraging that the offense looked like it generated good opportunities today so that might be good for the future."

It is easy to blow the results of one game out of proportion, but at least Marquette's offense showed promise, especially for Blouin.

After scoring four goals in 2003 and finishing second on the team in goals (7) and points (17) a year ago, Blouin had registered just one assist entering the Louisville contest.

During Sunday's rain-soaked contest at Valley Fields he looked like the poised and confident player of old.

In the 37th minute the ball came to Rob Walton on the left side of the field and the junior defender sent the ball back towards the crowd of players standing in front of the Cardinals' goal. The ball traveled just over the head of a leaping Louisville defender, bounced off junior forward Ryan Nikchevich's foot and was drilled into the net by Blouin's volley.

"It was low and (Louisville goalkeeper Steven DeGeorge) couldn't get low enough because I hit it so hard," Blouin said.

Senior midfielder Blair Kohlmeyer scored the game-winner in the 55th minute following a turnover by Louisville's David Guzman in his own half. Kohlmeyer grabbed the loose ball on the right side of the field and promptly sent a low shot into the far right corner of the goal.

"That is one of the hardest shots for a keeper to save when it's wet, skippin' on the ground, they can't save that stuff," Kohlmeyer said. "That's what I was trying to do, keep it low and it went in."

Ryan McDonald showed it is also hard for goalkeepers to get to high balls. In the 79th minute the Louisville freshman out leapt everyone and headed Guzman's corner kick over Marquette goalkeeper Steven Grow.

From that point on the Golden Eagles' defenders neutralized Louisville's attack and the Cardinals never threatened again.

The defense also played well Friday but committed two huge mistakes that cost Marquette the game.

In the 41st minute sophomore defender Mike Carlson was whistled for a hand ball in the box. Sam Miller drilled the ensuing penalty kick to the right, Marquette sophomore goalkeeper Andy Kroll dove to the left and Cincinnati had a 1-0 lead at the half.

The Golden Eagles played much better in the second half, but in the 79th minute all 10 of Marquette players were deep in Bearcats territory and unable to recover when the ball was cleared to Omar Cummings. He dribbled around an onrushing Kroll just past the half line and easily added the insurance goal.

This article was published in The Marquette Tribune on September 27, 2005.