Turf-tested team plays to tie

The first game of the fall men's soccer season is a little over four months away, but it is never too early to start getting ready for the move to the Big East.

Saturday's two games at Wisconsin-Oshkosh were great tune-ups for the new conference because they were played on FieldTurf artificial grass.

St. John's, a team Marquette is tentatively scheduled to face Sept. 18 in Jamaica, N.Y., plays its home games on an artificial surface, as does Cincinnati. According to head coach Steve Adlard, there is also the possibility that Providence will add an artificial turf field in the near future.

During the test runs on turf, both of which ended in ties, Marquette showed signs it is close to being ready for Big East play.

"I think that we played a team game," Adlard said. "Meaning that we understood where each other was moving and what each other was trying to do.

"And it was quite positive because we were moving, like, in sync with each other for the most part. That creates opportunity in itself, I mean when you can get the ball to (sophomore Matt) Blouin's feet you know things are going well."

In the first match, Marquette played Wisconsin-Green Bay, a team the Golden Eagles beat, 3-1, in the fall, to a 0-0 draw.

Marquette "dominated the game," Adlard said. "We hit the bar late and probably could have had a couple (penalty kicks)."

In the second game of the day against Wisconsin-Oshkosh — a team that advanced to the Division III Final Four in 2003 — Marquette sophomore forward Ryan DuBois scored on a close-range volley to tie the game, 1-1. That ended up being the final score, but Marquette had plenty of encouraging chances.

"I felt that we stepped it up a lot, especially in the second half of the game, which is when we scored the goal," DuBois said. "We basically dominated the whole game. We were really connecting passes well and getting chances on goal, which is what we've been working on."

To have success in the Big East, the teamwork and development will need to continue.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on April 26 2005.