Women’s soccer drops USF 2-1

Sophomore midfielder Kerry McBride scored the first goal of her career Thursday night -- a game-winner against South Florida.
Sophomore midfielder Kerry McBride scored the first goal of her career Thursday night -- a game-winner against South Florida.

The Marquette women’s soccer team managed to pull out the last-minute 2-1 win against South Florida at Valley Fields Thursday night courtesy of sophomore midfielder Kerry McBride.

It wasn’t an easy start to the conference season, but coach Markus Roeders said he wasn’t surprised.

“There’s just no easy team in the Big East,” Roeders said.

The victory put Marquette at 6-2-0 (1-0-0 Big East) and kept the team undefeated at home.

Play started out like most of Marquette’s matches — with both teams getting plenty of good looks early but solid defense preventing anyone from getting away with an easy goal.

It was Marquette that struck first, after a South Florida defender gave up possession to a waiting Rachael Sloan. Sloan calmly knocked one past the Bulls’ goalkeeper near post to put the Golden Eagles up 1-0 just 20:32 in. The goal was Sloan’s second of the season and gave her the team lead in points with six.

The young, attack-oriented South Florida team was not done, however, and was able to accomplish something no other team has this season — scoring against Marquette at the Valley.

In the 53rd minute, South Florida midfielder Taylor Patterson found forward Chelsea Klotz on the left side. Klotz caught Marquette sophomore goalkeeper Natalie Kulla and the rest of the Golden Eagle defense overcommitting and buried one near post.

“It was a pretty good goal on their part,” Kulla said. “We just had a little bit of a miscommunication in the backfield, of me calling the ball off. I think it’s obviously something that can be fixed.”

Backed by Kulla, Marqutte had shut out all four of its opponents at home prior to tonight’s game.

From there the pressure was back on the Golden Eagles. And they felt it, missing a number of scoring opportunities as time dwindled.

The match looked set to go to overtime when Sloan sent a cross to senior forward Becky Ryan who headed it to a ready McBride for the game-winning header with just 1:29 left on the clock. The goal was McBride’s first of her career.

“It was really exciting. Obviously Big East game, big game,” McBride said. “I’ve been waiting for it for a long time.”

With an open goal, the Bulls had one last desperation shot off a corner kick, but the chance was easily stifled by the Golden Eagles.

The victory may have been last-second, but Roeders was quick to defend his squad’s preparation and tenacity.

“Tough game. Thought it was going to be a tough game,” Roeders said. “I wouldn’t say we pulled one out. I think we earned one at the end.”

Marquette’s next game is against West Michigan Sunday in Kalamazoo, Mich., at 1 p.m.