Marquette’s season ended in a brutal way Saturday night when BYU advanced 6-5 on penalty kicks after the teams played a scoreless 110 minutes of regulation and overtime in Provo, Utah.
The Golden Eagles had a chance to advance to their first ever Elite Eight following a 3-1 win over Princeton on Thursday.
“It’s always tough for our season to come to an end,” coach Markus Roeders said. “But at the end of the day, only one team is going to win the whole thing. We put ourselves in position to do that, but it just didn’t work out.”
BYU came out hot in the first 20 minutes or so, peppering freshman goalkeeper Amanda Engel with shot after shot, but she was up for the challenge. She said she had to take on game-ending penalty kick situations a few times while playing for the Real Colorado National team.
“I’d put her up with anyone,” Roeders said of Engel. “I think she really came into her own this year and had a great game Saturday. She really helped everyone in front of her this year.”
Engel finished the game with a career-high nine saves.
Despite its season ending, Marquette hasn’t technically lost a game since it fell 5-2 to Duke on Sept. 9, because penalty kick shootouts count as ties. But that doesn’t make the “loss” any easier to take.
“It’s sad to see the season come to an end, obviously, but we left it all out on the field,” Engel said. “I have to say I’m fairly proud of how I played this year, and I definitely learned a lot, especially from the seniors.”
BYU owned a 20-13 edge in shots heading into overtime but led 12-5 in shots at halftime. Marquette was able to shore up its defense, which led to a better offensive attack after some keen adjustments by the coaching staff.
Roeders said the team went with three forwards and three midfielders along with its traditional four-defender alignment after the first part of the game.
“We had to change some things up a bit because BYU was very strong in the beginning,” Roeders said. “We balanced things out a bit better after the alignment change, and it helped us get some really good looks.”
While the finish was controversial, with a scoreless game being decided by penalty kicks, Roeders said he wouldn’t change anything about it.
“I’m a traditionalist in the fact that ever since I’ve played soccer, the game has to end somehow, and this is how it happens,” Roeders said. “You could come up with some gimmicky thing like extending the overtimes or taking players off the field, but this is what it comes down to.”
Marquette was on the other side of the ledger when it advanced, 5-4, in penalty kicks over Wisconsin in 2010 to go to the Sweet 16. It also saw its season end at Dayton in 2009 in a shootout.
“If you’re on the wrong end, it’s unfortunate, but if you win the game, you say, ‘Hey, what a terrific result,’” Roeders said.
Marquette finishes a season in which it won the Big East Tournament championship for the first time in program history, and had the third-most wins in its history, on the 20th anniversary of the program’s inception.
The Golden Eagles also won their division for the fourth straight year and went unbeaten in conference play for the second time in three years.
“It’s hard to wrap your head around right now, but in due time we’ll look forward and take it all in and really reflect on what a great season this was,” Roeders said. “We’ll certainly miss our six seniors, but we have a great nucleus coming back and a great balance of younger and more experienced players.”