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Marquette women’s soccer: Golden Eagles maintain undefeated home record

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Sophomore forward Maegan Kelly scored her 12th goal of the season Sunday in a 3-0 win over Connecticut. Photo by Elise Krivit/elise.krivit@marquette.edu

Ho hum, just another 2-0 weekend for the Marquette women’s soccer team (14-2-0, 7-1-0 Big East).

On the heels of a pair of 3-0 wins over Providence (5-7-4, 3-5-0 Big East) and Connecticut (6-6-2, 3-3-2 Big East), the Golden Eagles need just one more win in their final three games to clinch at least a tie for second in the American Division of the Big East.

“It really was a great weekend for us all around,” coach Markus Roeders said. “We’re really playing well as a team, and it’s all coming together.”

In the win over the Huskies on Sunday, Marquette took advantage of two poor decisions by Connecticut’s senior goalkeeper Jessica Dulski on its first two goals and got its third on a powerful strike from senior forward Lindsey Page.

In the 34th minute, sophomore forward Maegan Kelly intercepted a clearance attempt from Dulski, took a few dribbles and fired a shot low into the far corner for her 12th goal of the season. The goal gave the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead.

Sophomore defender Katie Hishmeh picked up her first career goal in the 65th minute after sending a seemingly harmless ball on net from 40 yards out. The ball caromed off Dulski’s hands and trickled into the back of the net. With the goal, 17 players have scored at least once this season.

Page added the final tally in the 88th minute.

The win Sunday was senior goalkeeper Natalie Kulla’s 54th of her career and her 40th career shutout. She is just four shutouts behind the all-time Division I NCAA record, set by Rutgers’ Erin Guthrie – current women’s professional soccer player on Sky Blue FC. It was also the Golden Eagles’ sixth straight win overall and extended the team’s unbeaten streak at home to 18 games.

“Natalie is really special and she deserves all the accolades and awards she’s gotten,” Hishmeh said. “The five of us (on the backline) are really confident, and it has shown in our play lately.”

Friday’s win over Providence was highlighted by senior defender Kerry McBride’s first goal of the season on a free kick following a yellow card on the Friars’ junior defender Jenna Roncarati. McBride launched the free kick over the Friars’ wall and out of the reach of senior goalkeeper Caitlin Walker.

Sophomore midfielders Kate Reigle and Mary Luba also tallied goals in the win.

The wins set up crucial road contests against St. John’s (8-6-1, 4-4-0 Big East) and Syracuse (6-5-3, 5-3-0 Big East) Friday and Sunday, respectively.

“It’s really hard to believe that we’re down to three regular season games,” Kelly said. “The season has gone by fast, but we’re ready as a team. And I think we’re playing complete games now.”

The Red Storm were routed at Pittsburgh (2-10-4, 1-5-2 Big East), 6-1 Sunday afternoon, but are 5-1-1 at home this year.

The Orange, meanwhile, pose the lone remaining threat to Marquette and West Virginia (11-4-0, 7-1-0 Big East) for the top two spots in the division.

The Golden Eagles would ensure themselves a bye into the quarterfinals of the Big East Championship tournament with a win over Syracuse, or a combination of a win over St. John’s Friday and a loss or tie by Syracuse against South Florida on Friday.

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