Marquette Women’s Soccer: Golden Eagles use defense to sweep weekend matches

Winning a Big East soccer division title raises eyebrows, but winning four in a row drops jaws.

With the Marquette women’s soccer team’s 2-0 win over Syracuse on Sunday, the No. 22/15 Golden Eagles officially finished first in the Big East American Division for the fourth consecutive season.

“Like I told them in the huddle, we’ve won four in a row,” coach Markus Roeders said. “Our senior class has won four in a row. There aren’t many players out there who have a chance to win one.”

Marquette also won it’s game on Friday over St. John’s 3-0 en route to its clinching win.

After drawing 1-1 at Connecticut last weekend, the Golden Eagles were hoping their defense would come through this weekend. Senior midfielder Rachel Brown, who scored in Sunday’s match, was impressed at how the team rebounded in that regard.

“These games were really important for us coming back from Connecticut,” Brown said. “These teams that we played were very tough, physical teams. I think we all had to make sure we played defense both on the offensive side and the defensive side. I think it was really important for us to just get these two shutouts and put away our chances.”

Marquette dominated possession on Friday and Sunday. It didn’t allow a shot on goal until the 78th minute Sunday.

Squeezing the opponents’ offensive schemes has become customary for this team all season, and senior forward Lisa Philbin gave high praise to the defense for coming through in both games.

“I think our back four have proven to be really solid all season long,” Philbin said. “They’re so solid as a unit and they work well together. They can play out of pretty much any situation. We didn’t do anything different this weekend. I think we’re just going to keep on being that solid unit going forward.”

On the offensive end this weekend, Marquette used a diligent attack to create numerous fast breaks and dismantle the opposing defense.

The Golden Eagles scored their three goals Friday in the second half and got their first goal on Sunday in the third minute. Marquette is tied for first in the conference with 2.8 goals per game, and Roeders was satisfied with how the team moved the ball this weekend.

“As long as you score a goal you have that feel that we have the chance to win,” Roeders said. “You’ve got to be aggressive on offense, because at the end of the day it helps you score goals. It’s part of the game. It’s how we program and how we train. Everybody has to attack and everybody has to defend.”

The Golden Eagles close out the regular season this Saturday against South Florida at Valley Fields.

Despite yet another division title under their belts, the players are not going to lose focus for the final game before taking part in the crucial Big East Tournament. Marquette will host a quarterfinal match Sunday, Oct. 28.

“From here on out it’s only going to get harder,” Brown said. “We have to prepare ourselves mentally because when we’re in a groove we will win the game, we’re unstoppable. If we (are) mentally prepared from here on out, just like we have been, we’ll keep on winning.”

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