Women’s soccer to take on cross-town rivals

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A loss is disappointing regardless of the situation, but when it comes at the hands of a cross-town rival, it strikes a team a little harder than usual.

Last time the Marquette women's soccer team played Wisconsin-Milwaukee, on Sept. 3, 2008, over 900 fans witnessed a 1-0 Panthers' victory.

"Against a rival team you always want to compete well, and I don't think we played as well as we could have that game," freshman goalkeeper Natalie Kulla said. "The most disappointing part is knowing we could have done better."

The Golden Eagles seek redemption tonight against a talented Panther team, and Marquette coach Markus Roeders is excited for a chance to retaliate on their home turf.

"We know each other really well," he said. "We'll gain as much as we can from the playing standpoint of getting to know each other.

"It should definitely be a good match."

The Panthers are led by freshman sensation Sarah Hagen, who was named a First Team Freshman All-American after the fall season.

Hagen had the lone goal in the September meeting and continued her high-scoring ways throughout the season. She finished second in the nation with 24 goals scored and fourth in points recorded with 54.

"Hagen made a huge difference," Roeders said. "She gave them something that they didn't have and ended up being a great goal scorer for them."

In one of the best seasons in UW-Milwaukee history, the

Panthers boasted an impressive 18-3-2 record and peaked at No. 16 in the NSCAA rankings.

Both rosters however took major hits as the Golden Eagles lost three key defenders and the Panthers lost two starters in goalkeeper Erin Kane and midfielder Sarah Teegarden.

"Teegarden was the heart and soul of that squad," Roeders said. "Both of them are gone, so just like us, they lost some key players. We'll just have to see what we're like now."

Marquette comes home after splitting a pair of matches in Texas last weekend. The Golden Eagles handily defeated Stephen F. Austin 3-1 and dropped a hard-fought match to Texas A&M, 1-0.

"We definitely progressed from one game to the next," Kulla said. "Texas A&M was a really good team. We definitely held our own and had some opportunities late in the second half."

Marquette will play at Valley Fields for the first time all spring and eagerly awaits the opportunity to match up against the Panthers.

"Of course the cross-town rivalry will always be a good game no matter if it's here or there," junior midfielder Michelle Compty said. "So we're really excited about it."

"Playing at home is always going to give you an advantage. Just to be at home under the lights against UWM, it's always going to be a good match."

Although the fall season is months away, Roeders looks at tonight's game as a tune up for the fall, hoping his squad can win when it counts, too.

"The result Thursday ultimately is secondary," Roeders said. "If you give me a choice — beat them Thursday or beat them in the fall ‐ I'll tell you, let's beat them in the fall."