The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

NELSON: Golden Eagles dominate spring play

Junior forward Julia Victor said the spring season is different: Players put less emphasis on winning games and more emphasis on positioning themselves to win games, if not now then in the fall. The Marquette women’s soccer team, however, decided it could have its cake and eat it, too. Not only have the Golden Eagles won games this spring but the manner in which they have done so has them primed for another big fall season.

In eight spring games the women have only been beaten one time. In those games they took on top-25 teams from the 2009 fall season in Wisconsin-Madison (2-1), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (4-0), and Texas A&M (2-2). They also clobbered Big East foe DePaul (5-0). The only team to knock them off is Illinois, who won 1-0 over the weekend.

The team has given up two goals in a game just once while scoring less than two goals in a game just twice — a pretty good recipe for success. While it’s still way too early to start awarding a 2010 NCAA Championship berth, at this point, I can tell you all systems are a “go.”

Last year’s team won the American Division of the Big East Conference, made it to the Big East Championship game, finished the season ranked in the top 10, and made it to the NCAA Tournament. All of those accomplishments are repeatable with the return of a strong team led by sophomore forward Rachel Sloan and sophomore goalkeeper Natalie Kulla.

Sloan will enter her junior year as the team’s reigning scoring leader of the 2009 season (19 points). She was named to the 2009 All-Big East First Team. Through the eight spring games she has scored three goals and has been the most dangerous weapon for a loaded offensive attack. As she steps into a larger leadership role as an upperclassmen in the fall, her individual accomplishments too look repeatable.

Kulla, who was named to the 2009 All-Big East Second Team, was also asked to participate in the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team training camp this spring for the third time in her career. Look for her to once again be one of the top goalkeepers in the Big East.

With those two at the helm along with coach Markus Roeders — who was the 2009 Big East Coach of the Year — there is stability at the top. With stability at the top, everything else tends to trickle down. That’s how teams find success year after year.

Sophomore forward Kerry McBride said one thing that stood out to her was that Marquette was in much better shape than either of the two Texas teams it played. In the movie “Miracle,” coach Herb Brooks said, “The legs feed the wolf.” He understood success comes with the ability to outwork an opponent over the duration of a game.  So does this team.

After the Nebraska and UW-Milwaukee games, Roeders was concerned with finding the correct mix of experience and youth. So far, whatever mix Roeders has used has worked. It stands to reason it’ll work in the fall, as well.

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