Marquette Club Sports: Women’s clubs look to repeat success of last year

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The Marquette women’s club sports season might feature just as much success as it did last year after several teams played at the highest level possible.

If it hadn’t already, Marquette established itself as a club sports powerhouse last year with women’s basketball and volleyball finishing their seasons on the national stage.

Club basketball pulled off a thrilling, come-from-behind victory to win the ACIS National Championship game 35-33 against Delaware after advancing to the NCCS Michigan Regionals one year earlier.

That team was led by MVP and All-American Chantal Newman, who returns for her senior year.

She hit plenty of key shots, including a pair of game-winning free throws in the championship game and showed a knack for the clutch that will carry over into this season.

Newman’s return will help the team continue to compete at the national level and seek back-to-back titles.

Coach Matt D’Amato said he’s looking for new faces to complement the veterans, however, and feels that his team is in line for a big year of growth as a club thanks to its championship pedigree.

“We’re always looking for new players to come. It’s a great experience outside of being successful and winning games,” D’Amato said. “We’ll hopefully get more invites. We realize that by winning the national championship that other teams will be looking to beat us.”

On the volleyball court, Marquette continued a four-year trend of outstanding play at the national level that started in 2008 with a national title. The Golden Eagles have finished in the top-10 each of the past three years including a runner-up spot in 2011.

Last spring, the team won its NCVF Ranking Tournament beating the likes of Dayton, DePaul and Loyola-Chicago and battled to a third-place finish in the NCVF Championships.

With the return of two All-Americans in Jennifer Ciriacks and Molly Aikins, the Golden Eagles will again look to reach Nationals, and both team presidents Nicole Luke and Hannah Guth believe that a lower finish would be a disappointment.

“I have confidence that we can make it to Nationals again this year,” Luke said. “We’ve qualified and competed the past four years at that level, and our team holds high expectations for each other, which will hopefully be shown through our effort this year.”

“Our strength really comes in the way that we have bonded on and off the court,” Guth said. “We really are a close-knit squad, and we all bond really well together.”

The women’s club lacrosse team hasn’t quite had the success its hoped for, but has still grown tremendously in skill and talent since joining the club program in 2007. The team boasts players from a variety of different states including Oregon, California and New York.

The team doesn’t shy away from tough competition as it participates in the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse League.

The league consists of more than 50 different schools from Wisconsin to New York, making it the largest club lacrosse league in the nation.

Last season the team finished last in the Division I West Region with a record of 3-13 behind larger schools Northwestern, Wisconsin-Madison and Illinois. Despite the disappointing finish, Marquette played more games than its regional opponents, offering its players more action.

With two squads positioned for national title runs and the rest poised for major growth in 2012-13, this season has the potential to be just as exciting as last year in women’s club sports.

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