Marquette defeats Villanova, 1-0

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_MG_6416The Marquette women’s soccer team found an interesting way to defeat the Villanova Wildcats.

The Golden Eagles had set pieces, through balls and breakaways, but were unable to create serious scoring chances off them.

Instead, the team used a corner kick to score the lone goal of the game. What’s unusual about the goal, though, is that it came from the kick-taker, Lauren Thut.

Thut, a junior defender and free kick specialist, curled a corner kick into the side netting in the 37th minute and Marquette advanced with a 1-0 victory.

“Somebody else stepped up and put the ball away,” coach Markus Roeders said. “And this time it was Lauren Thut.”

Much of the first half was dominated by Marquette with forwards Becky Ryan and Rachael Sloan attacking the Wildcat defense. However, Villanova’s back line was solid all game, allowing few scoring chances.

“I don’t think we played our best soccer, but good teams cannot play their best and still come out with the win,” Ryan said. “We had our chances, but I don’t think that we were as dangerous as we could have been.”

Perhaps the best chance of the first half, aside from Thut’s goal, was started by Golden Eagle goalkeeper Natalie Kulla. In the 27th minute, Kulla blasted a punt 60 yards, which was flicked onto the foot of Sloan. Sloan beat one defender and sent her shot just over the crossbar.

“I don’t think we played our best game of the year, but we had a few decent scoring chances,” Roeders said.  “Offensively we struggled a little bit, but Rachael (Sloan) continues to create scoring chances.”

The second half saw much of the action down in Marquette’s defensive half, where seniors Katie Miller and Allison McBride frantically cleared the ball out time after time.

For the third-consecutive match, sophomore Kerry McBride filled in for injured Ally Miller at the stopper position. McBride earned her starting position by using her size and ability in the air to head balls clear.

With seven minutes remaining, Villanova thought it had equalized the game when Kulla came off her line and the ball was slipped past her. However, Allison McBride slid across the goal line and cleared the ball away.

“We got a shutout, which is always our goal,” McBride said. “It was a complete effort by our team, though.”

With the win, the Golden Eagles advance to the Big East semifinals in Storrs, Conn., where they match up against the West Virginia Mountaineers. Earlier this season, the Mountaineers topped the Golden Eagles 1-0 in Morgantown, W.Va.

“We’ve never beaten them, and we’re going up against a giant,” Roeders said. “We’re going to be prepared for them.”

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