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Marquette Women’s Soccer: Season not to be judged by one loss

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Senior defender Kerry McBride was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year in each of her final two seasons as a Golden Eagle. Photo by Aaron Ledesma/ aaron.ledesma@marquette.edu

One game does not a season make. That’s why Marquette’s 4-1 loss to Penn State (21-5-0) in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Friday Nov. 18 should not define another historic campaign for the Golden Eagles.

Marquette finished the season 18-4-0 and won a share of the American Division of the Big East for the third straight season. With a 10-1-0 conference record this year, the Golden Eagles are now 21-1-0 in conference play over the past two years.

This loss marked the end of the road for three seniors: goalkeeper Natalie Kulla, defender Kerry McBride and forward Lindsey Page.

“It was a great season, and it’s been a great five years,” Kulla said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team, better coaches or university, so I’m just happy that this is where I ended up.”

“This season was really fun and exciting,” McBride said. “I think we had something really special this year, with everyone being so close and on the same page. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Kulla and McBride will go down as two of the best players in program history, both on and off the field.

Kulla was named the both Big East Pre-season Goalkeeper of the Year as well as the Big East Goalkeeper of the Year.

It was the second straight Big East Goalkeeper of the Year honor for Kulla, who finished her career with 43 shutouts, one short of the NCAA record. Kulla also finished first in the Big East in goals against average (0.79) and had 13 shutouts this season alone.

Kulla was one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, given annually to a student-athlete who uses their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as a leader in the community, according to the award’s website.

McBride, not to be outdone, earned Big East Preseason Defensive Player of the Year as well as Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

As with Kulla, it was the second consecutive season McBride earned Big East Defensive Player of the Year, the first player to do so since Notre Dame’s Jen Grubb in 1998 -’99. McBride helped limit opponents to just 2.68 shots on goal per game.

Page finished third on the team with 16 points (five goals, six assists), while coming off the bench in all but two contests.

Sophomore forward Maegan Kelly earned All-Big East First Team honors after scoring 14 goals and tallying 12 assists for a team-high 40 points.

Junior defender Ally Miller was tabbed for All-Big East Third Team honors, playing a critical role in a stingy back line that allowed only 17 goals all season.

Additionally, freshman forward Mady Vicker battled injuries all season to earn Big East All-Rookie Team honors.

“We can take the time to look back on a fantastic season and an incredible group of young ladies who represented Marquette and the program extremely well,” coach Markus Roeders told gomarquette.com. “It is hard to put into words the contributions of our three seniors, but they will go down among the best and brightest who have ever wore a Marquette uniform.”

As a team, Marquette knocked off three ranked opponents: No. 23 Long Beach State, No. 14 Wisconsin-Milwaukee and No. 20 Notre Dame.

All three teams played in the NCAA Tournament, with Long Beach State advancing to the Elite Eight after a 1-0 win over San Diego on Sunday.

Despite the graduation of the three seniors, the Golden Eagles appear to be in great shape for another successful season next year with Kelly, Miller, Vicker, sophomore midfielders Kate Reigle and Taylor Madigan, and redshirt senior forward Rachael Sloan returning among others.

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