Loss to Dayton ends ‘amazing run’

One shot from 12 yards away and it was all over — the game, the season, and a family’s dream.

The Marquette women’s soccer team fell to Dayton, 4-3, in penalty kicks last Friday and was bounced from the NCAA Tournament.

“I definitely went into denial,” senior defender Katie Miller said. “Once that last kick went in, it was a weird feeling. I was in shock. It was a really surreal feeling.”

After 120 minutes of scoreless, hard-fought action against Dayton, each team lined five players up to shoot a penalty kick 12 yards away from goal.

Marquette missed twice and the Flyers missed just one, sending Dayton on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament — and the Golden Eagles home until 2010.

“Right after it happened it was just shock, because we were convinced that we were going to win,” senior forward Becky Ryan said. “It was heartbreaking and upsetting, because it all happened so fast.”

Miller, the team’s defensive sweeper, played a vital role for the Golden Eagles on and off the field all season. She played in and started all 23 games and finished second on the team in minutes played behind only goalkeeper Natalie Kulla.

Ryan finished second on the team in points, scoring four goals and notching one assist.

Miller and Ryan are two of eight seniors on the team, a group that led by example and helped the team to its first ever Big East American Division Title.

“What was pretty unique about our senior class was that we had a good mix of different personalities, and we each brought something different to our leadership,” Ryan said.

Miller said the group of seniors was unique because of the goals it set out and how much fun it had achieving them.

“The best part of the season was how much fun we made it, how everybody played a role, the family atmosphere and all the aspects of Marquette soccer, which are special compared to every other soccer program,” Miller said. “One of the things that made the senior class special was looking back on last season and knowing that we wanted to do something different and create a lot of memories.”

What benefited this team more than past teams was the chemistry and the ever-apparent family atmosphere.

“So much of the season was surrounded by a team aspect,” Miller said. “All season, there was a lot of unity between us, and we were on the same page from the very beginning.”

Ryan said the team unity was the best it’s ever been and that everyone was working toward the same goal.

“Family has always been the theme of Marquette soccer,” Ryan said. “One thing that helped our season was that everyone had a role and this year everyone sucked it up and played their role to the best of their ability.”

Senior defender Allison McBride looked back on her career as a Golden Eagle and took away only positive memories.

“The whole team, the people I spend every single day with,” McBride said about her favorite part of being a Golden Eagle. “The coaches are great and my teammates are absolutely amazing. It’s been an amazing run.”