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Back-to-back champs

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With a 2-0 win over St. John’s (6-10-2, 3-7-1 Big East) Sunday afternoon, the Marquette women’s soccer team finished an undefeated and untied season in Big East play for the first time in team history and became the third program in Big East history to win all of its league games.

Marquette (14-3-2, 11-0-0 Big East) clinched its second consecutive American Division championship with a 2-0 victory over Syracuse (6-9-5, 3-6-2 Big East) on Friday night. The match was also Senior Night, and Marquette honored the seven seniors on the roster in a pre-game ceremony.

Marquette has now earned five regular season conference championships and won its last 15 conference games.

“I’m very proud of the girls,” coach Markus Roeders said.  “They’ve worked very hard to get to this point, and being back-to-back champs is a great feeling.”

In Friday’s game, the Orange and Golden Eagles played an even first half, but Marquette broke through on freshman forward Maegan Kelly’s seventh goal of the season in the 65th minute.

Senior midfielder Rosie Malone-Povolny added the insurance goal in the 82nd minute on a free kick from senior defender Lauren Thut.

“This is probably the best team I’ve ever played on,” Thut said. “We’ve been through a lot and have a bunch of different players who can contribute at any time.”

Sunday’s victory not only clinched an 11-0 Big East regular season mark, it was also junior goalkeeper Natalie Kulla’s 30th career shutout, which broke Marquette’s all-time record.

Junior forward Rachael Sloan scored the game-winning goal in the 48th minute, and junior forward Lindsey Page cushioned Marquette’s lead in the 68th minute.

The Golden Eagles outshot St. John’s 10-1 in the first half but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities. However, a 20-3 advantage for the game proved too much for the Red Storm.

Sloan’s third game-winning goal of the season – and eighth of her career – tied her for fifth on Marquette’s all-time list.

Kelly, who scored the game-winner on Friday night, thinks the team has the potential to go beyond its already unprecedented season.

“To go undefeated in the Big East is something that very few teams have done, and we did it,” Kelly said. “Who knows how far we can go, but we all believe in each other.”

After allowing three goals to Louisville Oct. 17, Marquette allowed just five shots on goal and no goals in two games this weekend.

“I think the backline made some good adjustments in practice this week, and it showed in the two games this weekend,” Thut said. “Of course, it helps when you have Natalie Kulla in net.”

Kulla’s seventh and eighth shutouts of the season were undoubtedly instrumental in the wins this weekend, but it was the offense that has been an even bigger asset to the team during its unbeaten run.

Marquette is 12-0 when scoring two goals or more this season, and 2-3-2 when it doesn’t.

By winning the division, Marquette earned a No. 1 seed in the Big East Conference Tournament and will play against either DePaul or Pittsburgh. The game will be played on Sunday at Valley Fields.

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One Response to “Back-to-back champs”

  1. Tweets that mention The Marquette Tribune -- Topsy.com on October 27th, 2010 12:54 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marquette Tribune, Michele Boyd. Michele Boyd said: RT @mutribune: In @MUTrib_Sports, MU women's soccer finishes undefeated/untied Big East season to take division title: http://bit.ly/9Ybhey #musm […]

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