Winning four straight division titles is difficult to do regardless of the sport or level.
When the Marquette women’s soccer team clinched its fourth straight American Division championship Sunday afternoon, it marked a tremendous accomplishment for a senior class that has done nothing but win.
I talked to seniors Rachel Brown and Ally Miller last week and both of them said they didn’t really understand what it meant to play their hardest for the senior class until they were seniors.
The men’s basketball program will always be the bell cow at Marquette, and I understand that. But there are plenty of other teams here that deserve the same recognition.
This team continually goes about its business and finds a way to get the job done.
Consider this: since the beginning of the 2010 Big East season, the women’s soccer team is 29-1-1 in conference play. It hasn’t lost at home to a Big East opponent since 2009.
Coming out and playing at a high level every game with a target on your back is no easy task. The Packers are experiencing a bit of that this year and finally realized Sunday that they can’t just show up and win.
The difference is that for four straight years, the women’s soccer team has risen up to just about every challenge the Big East has thrown at it.
I’ve had the pleasure of covering this team over the last three years, and I can’t imagine I will work with another team that has the success this program has had.
I feel a connection with the “Family” that I don’t feel with any other program here.
One thing these seniors haven’t done yet is win a Big East Tournament championship. That chance will come later this season, but I’m sure the team has already finished celebrating another division title and is focusing on the South Florida game Saturday night.
After that, the Golden Eagles will host a Big East quarterfinal match for the fourth straight year and if they win, they will travel to Storrs, Conn., with the opportunity to check another box off their resume.
Hosting an NCAA Tournament game for the third consecutive season is also down the road, but I’m asking Golden Eagle fans to reflect on being able to watch a winning product just about every game since coach Markus Roeders took over 17 years ago.
It’s not just about what this team has done in winning division titles, but the sustained success it has achieved during Roeders’ tenure.
He is 248-91-35 at Marquette and has appeared in 10 NCAA Tournaments, with another on the way. The Golden Eagles have never had a losing season or won fewer than 11 games under Roeders.
There was a bit of uncertainty when this season started. All-Americans Natalie Kulla and Kerry McBride graduated, as well as Lindsey Page, who provided a spark for the team whenever she took the pitch.
The way freshman Amanda Engel and junior Emily Jacobson have replaced Kulla and McBride has been uncanny. I never had a doubt this team would play at a high level, but even I didn’t think it would win every game in conference play thus far.
It has a chance to finish Big East play unbeaten again with a win on Senior Night, and the possibilities after that are endless. Roeders hasn’t gotten past the Sweet 16 yet, but that’s not too far down the road.
I know my days covering this team are limited, but for now I’m going to sit back and enjoy the ride. Join me?