Marquette Women’s Soccer: Golden Eagles upset at home 1-0 against Notre Dame

Senior forward Lindsey Page said Marquette must not lose the rest of the season. Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Things were sailing smoothly for the Marquette women’s soccer team, having won 19 straight games at home. And suddenly, they weren’t.

Notre Dame (10-6-3) upset Marquette (17-3-0) with a 1-0 victory in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament Sunday, exacting revenge for a 3-2 overtime loss on Sept. 25.

The script for this game was flipped from the last time the two teams met. This time it was Notre Dame’s All-American Melissa Henderson who scored an early goal, and it was the Golden Eagles who had to play from behind.

A steady rain fell for the majority of the game, making it even more difficult for Marquette to mount a comeback.

“The unfortunate thing about it is that I don’t think we played a complete game,” coach Markus Roeders said. “In the first half especially I thought we were pretty uncharacteristic, and it’s a disappointing result.”

The loss puts the Golden Eagles in limbo until Nov. 7, when they learn their fate of where and when they will play in the NCAA Tournament. Until then, according to senior goalkeeper Natalie Kulla, the team will have to focus on improving and learning from the loss.

“We just have to make every practice worth our while and need to get back to what we’re good at and focus on our possessions and our work ethic,” Kulla said.  “We’re just a little disappointed in ourselves and didn’t play the game we intended to or that we had in our minds.”

A better showing in the Big East tournament could have locked up a No. 1 seed for Marquette in the NCAA Tournament, meaning a chance to host every game until the College Cup Final Four, but those thoughts have to be tempered for now.

Still, there remains a glimmer of hope for the Golden Eagles. Another team also experienced a loss in its first postseason game last season and still went on to win the national championship: the 2010 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

“They (Notre Dame) lost in the quarterfinals (of the Big East tournament) last year and ended up winning the whole thing, so it hurts now, but it’s not over,” senior forward Lindsey Page said. “We just can’t lose any more games. This is it.”

The loss also meant that Marquette will not play in the semifinal round of the Big East Championship tournament for the first time in four years. But that may be a good thing. The semifinals and championship matches will be held at West Virginia’s Dick Dlesk Stadium, which has become a house of horrors for the Golden Eagles over the years.

Marquette has never won on West Virginia’s home turf, and though it wouldn’t have had to worry about playing the Mountaineers until the championship match, perhaps a break will be a good way for the team to regroup and relax.

“Right now, I think the team is disappointed and a little ticked off, knowing they didn’t play the way they can and the way they should,” Roeders said. “We have to live with it for a week, week and a half, but we’ve shown that we’re resilient enough when every time we’ve had a setback (this year), we’ve been able to rebound. So hopefully we’ll be able to do that again.”