QUINCY -- Although the Quincy University men's soccer team came up empty offensively in the first five minutes of Thursday night's exhibition game against Culver-Stockton College, the ferocity with how the Hawks attacked was encouraging.
The letdown that followed was disappointing.
But the Hawks know seeing the good and the bad was the point of the first of three exhibition games they will play prior to the Aug. 30 season opener against Northeastern State in Springfield, Mo.
"We showed a lot of the things we were capable of and we were really sharp at times," sophomore forward Aubrey Reis said following the Hawks' 3-0 victory at Legends Stadium. "We combined well and created solid chances. So it was good for that.
"We also struggled in some areas, but those are things we can work on and improve on."
Eliminating the lulls in the attack will be paramount.
"We need to get better at settling in during games," Reis said. "Being comfortable, playing our own game, not letting the rush of the beginning of the season or the adrenalin or the other team's rush get to us. We've really been working on setting the tone and creating the pressure early on. Basically, it's throwing the first punch."
The Hawks did that, creating three early scoring chances off corner kicks. Ultimately, that paid off when freshman forward Kingsford Adjei converted a Hayden Tucker corner kick with a header for the first goal.
"There was good conviction from Kingsford to get it," QU coach Mike Carpenter said. "It was good to get him on the scoresheet."
Adjei is one of several freshmen who could have a big impact in the attack. Freshman forward Eduardo Vivanco started as a wing attacker, and Quincy Notre Dame product Macker Little saw time in both halves running up top.
"It's just good to play," Carpenter said. "That's obviously what we put all this effort into from the start."
Senior wing Kyle Frasor and junior midfielder Cooper Reis both scored in the second half as Carpenter was able to play a majority of his roster and began to see which rotations may work best.
"It allows you to start seeing and answering things like who's our best options, how am I going to use them," Carpenter said. "It allows us to evaluate them."
Defensively, a shutout is a quality stat when being evaluated.
"It was a clean sheet, even though at times we were a little shakier than I would have liked us to have been," Carpenter said. "But we had a clean sheet, and clean sheets make me happy."