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SCHMIDT: Karma kick starts Marquette soccer

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Karma: The Bigfoot of religious concepts. Despite the overwhelming evidence that it’s nothing but a myth, some people still believe in the hairy little bugger.

In this rare case, consider me a believer.

A few weeks ago I upset the balance of the cosmos when I wrote a column about how I’m less than enthusiastic about the sport of soccer. I still stand by most of what I said. I continue to find soccer a glorified version of footsy, with all the excitement of a one man tug-of-war. But, man, those Golden Eagles are making it tough for me to save face.

Since my salacious slandering of futbol, Marquette’s soccer program has suddenly turned into Manchester United. The women’s team has won its first seven Big East conference games, a school record. The men’s team, usually more vanilla than a Wonder Bread ice cream sandwich, has been a juggernaut of goal scoring while riding a six-game unbeaten streak.

Karma, you are a fickle friend.

It’s been a long time since both soccer teams have been riding such high tides of success. Valley Fields is usually a desolate, forsaken place filled with losses and heartache. Now it’s a place of dominance.

The women’s team has appeared simply unbeatable of late. After a shaky start in which they went 1-3-1, the Golden Eagles have looked every bit the reigning Big East American Division champs, ripping off seven consecutive victories. With the accolades and records piling up in recent weeks, they might want to start searching for a new mantle; it’s starting to get cluttered.

Just look at the numbers. A program record six straight road wins. The 15th consecutive season with at least ten wins. Eleven Big East regular season wins in a row dating back to last year. Ten career game-winning goals for senior forward Ashley Bares, placing her third all-time. Twenty seven career shutouts for junior goalkeeper Natalie Kulla, three short of breaking the school record.

And now, after beating Connecticut last week, Marquette is the No. 23 team in the country. That’s a resume Gordon Gekko can envy.

The men’s team has been only slightly less impressive. With five games to go they’ve already matched their wins total from last year and look poised to qualify for the Big East Tournament for the second time in school history.

The Golden Eagles also had – barring any NCAA Championship victories – what will go down as the game of the year for Marquette sports. Sadly, the moment came and went like Jeronne Maymon’s collegiate basketball career.

Facing the No. 3 Connecticut Huskies, the most prolific scoring team in the country, Marquette pulled off a miraculous 1-1 tie in double overtime. It was the highest ranked team the men’s squad has ever recorded a result against. For a team that, historically, hasn’t had much to be proud of, that was a Super Bowl-esque achievement.

The best thing about all of this success is that there is no reason for it to end. The women’s team finishes its season with four conference games at Valley Fields, while the men have already escaped the dangerous part of their schedule with minimal damage.

If I was being logical I’d bet my money on both teams having their best finishes in school history. The women can take home the Big East title again and make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, and the men have a shot in the dark to win their first ever Big East postseason game.

However, I have this karma thing to worry about. Bashing the entire sport of soccer has led to surprisingly positive results, so I’m inclined to be more responsible here. You know, for the sake of the school. Therefore, my official prediction is this: the entire women’s team quits when they decide that the uniforms aren’t cute enough, while the men’s team will crash land on a deserted island and actually live out the plot of the television show “Lost.”

Call me crazy, but this just might work. You should be thanking me ahead of time.

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