GROVER: More to Marquette than basketball

EricGroverSo, another Marquette basketball season is underway. Ahh, you can smell the synthetic rubber in the air. Wait, that’s yeast from the brewery. Gross.

After dispatching some powder-puffs in early season match-ups, conference play will soon be in full swing and Buzz Williams and Terri Mitchell will  lead their Golden Eagles into the fray of some serious basketball. And everyone will be watching.

Marquette is a basketball school. We all know it. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things happening here on the campus. And some of these teams (and their coaches) have flown under the radar with their accomplishments.

Take the women’s soccer team for example, stand-outs of Marquette athletics this year thus far. They remind me of “Arrested Development” — a great show that no one watched. But, as far as I’m aware, you can’t cancel a soccer team (easily). So that’s good.

The team ended its season ranked top 10 in the nation. In the nation, people. And yet, in its final home game, an exciting 1-0 win over Villanova, only 600 and change made it down to Valley Fields. That’s just not good enough.

Markus Roeders has cemented his name as one of the great Marquette coaches of recent memory. He won Big East coach of the year this season, the second time he’s done so.  In his 14 years, the Golden Eagles have made the NCAA Tournament eight times. That’s more than Tom Crean did here (five).

“I’ve been on the team four years now and I always knew he was different,” senior defender Katie Miller. “Stressing the emphasis of family; he made us see it and believe and allowed it to come alive. It created an awesome environment for us to be successful this season.”

If a coach becomes the all-time wins leader in any sport in Marquette history, and no one is there to see it, did it still happen? Well, yes, because unlike a tree falling in a forest, this is documented.

It was late March of this year when a pair of wins against St. John’s and Wright State propelled women’s tennis coach Jody Bronson to the top of the Marquette wins list. And sadly, there weren’t more than 20 people there to see it. I know, because I was one of them.

Bronson is a coaching icon at Marquette. Much of that can be attributed to her longevity around campus. She is entering her 25th season of leading the team. For most readers, chances are she’s coached here longer than you’ve been alive.

She boasts an impressive resume of 299 career wins. I’m sure that when she gets to 300, she’ll celebrate it the logical way: By watching “300,” that movie with the warriors with the fake CGI muscles. In addition to those wins, she has led the team to conference titles on three separate occasions.

“She’s been doing it for so long, she just knows everything about the game,” junior Christina Ruiz said. “Every single shot, she’s got you thinking.”

The tennis team plays in Helfaer Tennis Stadium, or as everyone else calls it, the tennis courts at the Rec Center. Tucked away in a corner of campus, the team doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

“All these athletes put in a tremendous amount of time in their sport,” Bronson said. “We’d love to have more people come.”

Basketball games are great, but Marquette has so much more to offer. You just need to know where to look. Check out some other sports. You’ll be surprised what you see.