Michigan could never find its groove in a 3-0 loss to Marquette. Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.

The Michigan men’s soccer team’s recent performance can be boiled down to one word: underwhelming.

On Friday night in Milwaukee, the Wolverines (1-3-1 overall) fell victim to this same narrative and lost to Marquette (3-1), 3-0.

Michigan came up short for the second week in a row, as it was still unable to find the groove needed to mesh together as a team. A team whose chemistry is still largely untested — with several leading players being freshmen.

The Wolverines struggled to put together either an offense or a defense that could play cohesively without giving up needless turnovers and fouls, putting unnecessary pressure on Michigan from the start.

“The game is made up of moments in each half,” Michigan coach Chaka Daley said. “Right now, we’re not getting the rub of the green on any of those moments.”

Both teams struggled to capitalize on corner opportunities in the first half, creating the illusion of a closely fought match.

By the end of the first half, it was clear that the Wolverines were mishandling the ball, which in turn led to excessive mistakes. The younger players headed the majority of turnovers, unable to find space and stalling when it came to passing the ball. This allowed the Golden Eagles to steal the momentum of the game and continue their own victorious narrative. 

Three minutes into the second half, Marquette was quick to find and successfully turn a corner kick into the first goal of the game. Soon after, the Golden Eagles turned another of their corner kick opportunities into yet another goal, smiting the Wolverines’ chance at their first road victory.

“We couldn’t find our shooting boots,” Daley said. “They had a half chance, and they tucked it away. That’ll hurt your confidence.”

The damning goal, along with a huge defensive effort from Marquette, begs the question: What needs to be done for Michigan to find a more successful season?

Despite being outmatched on both offense and defense, along with the Wolverines’ reliance on a few of their true freshmen, it was clear that the issue is not with the experience of the players.

Freshman forward Nicholas Kaloukian and freshman defender Nolan Miller notably led the team in minutes and shots. They, along with sophomore goalkeeper Hayden Evans, are evidence of the young talent that Michigan is building even though it came up short against Marquette. 

“We’re playing the guys who deserve to play, who are ready to compete at the highest level,” Daley said. “We don’t have a light early schedule … which is educational for the youth on our team.”

Michigan hopes to gain experience for their underclassmen the hard way: through old-fashioned trial and error. 

With that being said, the shaky start the Wolverines have had shows they need more time to figure out how to create their own opportunities as a team, rather than solo highlight reel plays — those certainly aren’t falling into the younger players’ laps. 

With the focus of the season still being aligned, Michigan needs to find its answer.