Tussle with Tulsa ends tied: Marquette matchup upcoming

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SLU’s defense and fighting mentality were truly tested against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in a 1-1 draw at Hermann Stadium on Sept. 4.

After falling behind in the 19th minute, 1-0, off of a finished cross into the box, the Billikens battened down the hatches and refused to lose on their home Hermann turf. Junior forward Grant Owens responded to the Tulsa goal defiantly by burying a cross of his own in the 59th minute to tie the game up, 1-1. Te squad could not find a second goal to put the Golden Hurricane away for good, but did move to 1-1-1 on the season with Owens’s second-half equalizer.

SLU registered 11 shots and earned four corners in 110 minutes of play. Most of SLU’s attacking moves came in the second half, when they fired seven total shots, but only one found the back of the net. Owens led the offense with three shots, with his goal as the only one that ended on target. Sophomore forward Anthony Brown, sophomore midfielder Lennart Hein and junior defender Jair Hernandez followed close behind with two shots apiece to form a balanced attack against a tough Tulsa team.

Owens commented on the game and the importance of his teammates in scoring his first goal of the year. “It was nice to get on the scoresheet; however, without the work from some of my teammates, the goal would not have been possible,” he said.

Owens was announced as the Atlantic 10 Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 6, after his impressive goal-scoring performance against Tulsa. This is the second week in a row that a Billiken has earned this honor for men’s soccer. Brown was tabbed with the honor the previous week, after he smashed in a curling game-winning shot from just outside the box. Brown’s goal came against a Wake Forest team that was then ranked fifth in the nation.

The back line and goalkeeper held up their end of the deal as well, allowing the Tulsa opposition only eight shots and three corner kicks. Junior goalie Sascha Otte collected three saves to keep the Billikens within striking distance throughout the game. Otte, junior defender Andre Rivers-Hardware, senior defender Max Karcher and senior midfielder Joe Saad battled valiantly through all 110 minutes of soccer. Seven Billiken substitutes contributed valuable minutes for the sake of the team, including Owens, who scored the all-important equalizer.

Head coach Mike McGinty took pride in his team for their early-season comeback against a Tulsa team that never allowed the Billikens any breathing room. However, he does expect his squad to improve as the team progresses through the rest of the non-conference season and fine-tune their play. “We came out aggressive, but I don’t think we were as sharp as we needed to be early on,” he said. “I was proud of the way we came back and scored to tie it up. At the end, it was two tired teams hanging on, trying to avoid the knockout. I was proud of our effort tonight, and we’ll now prepare for Marquette next weekend.”

Owens agreed with McGinty’s critique of the Tulsa game. He is looking forward to homing in on their mistakes and fixing any weaknesses in order to play a cleaner game in the future. “It was disappointing we were not able to win on Sunday, but we just have to continue building as a team, learning from our mistakes and taking the lessons from mid-week training onto the field,” he said.

The Billikens are after improved play and a better result on Sept. 10, when they face Marquette. SLU has not faced Marquette since the 2004 season, but on that occasion they did manage to defeat the Golden Eagles, 3-0, while on the road in Milwaukee. The men know that Marquette will be a tough matchup, especially considering the energy expended in the double overtime Tulsa game. SLU’s players and coaches are focusing their energy on fine-tuning all they can before the showdown with Marquette. “We will need to show our improvements against a very strong Marquette side,” Owens said. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at SLU’s Hermann Stadium.

After Marquette, SLU men’s soccer will travel to play against Denver. They will follow that match with a home game against Louisville. Last season, Louisville and SLU battled into overtime, with S L U prevailing 3-2 in the tight game . After Louisville, SLU’s homecoming game against VCU will take place. The VCU matchup will be SLU’s first conference game of the season. The Billikens will hope to win that game in their march towards the A-10 tournament later in the fall.