Women’s soccer loses heartbreaker to UWM

Trib File Photo
Trib File Photo

Marquette and Wisconsin-Milwaukee had an instant classic in the Battle of Milwaukee, as the Panthers barely edged out the Golden Eagles in a game filled with drama.

The match started off with the Golden Eagles having possession, and it looked like the seemingly superior Golden Eagles would control the match. Marquette spent early parts of the half in the attacking zone, and registered the first shot on goal. But true to coach Markus Roeders’ words, the Panthers had a sneaky offensive attack, and struck first.

In the 11th minute, leading scorer and senior forward Morgan LaPlant split the Marquette defense and went in on Golden Eagle keeper junior Amanda Engel one-on-one. LaPlant ripped a shot that clipped Engel, but found its way to the back of the net. Less than three minutes later, the Panthers struck again.

The Panthers controlled the ball and sophomore defender Rachael Van Keulen sent a cross into the box. Senior forward Krissy Dorre headed the ball into the net for her first goal of the season. The Panthers led 2-0 off of another stretch of poor defensive play that has plagued the young Marquette team.

The two quick goals so early into the match seemed to deflate the Golden Eagles. Wisconsin-Milwaukee had long periods of sustained offense, and Marquette just couldn’t counter attack. In the 31st minute, it got even worse for Marquette.

The Panthers got a corner kick from the left side of the pitch and put the cross into the box. The seeing-eye ball found its way to senior forward Kelly Lewers, who put it into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead. Wisconsin-Milwaukee carried the lead into the second half, with Marquette having very little offensive chances.

“I thought we were a little bit lackadaisical and didn’t really show up with the intensity you need to bring in any game, much less in a game like this,” Roeders said.

In the second half, it was more of the same. The Panthers controlled play, and it looked like it was going to be another long half for Marquette. The Panthers notched another goal in the 63rd minute, when senior midfielder Vienna Behnke caught a cross and put it past a diving Engel for a 4-0 lead.

After the restart, the Golden Eagles threatened, getting into the box, when a Panther took down a Marquette forward, giving the Golden Eagles a penalty kick in the 69th minute. Senior midfielder Mary Luba took the resulting penalty kick and shot it into the bottom right corner, finally putting Marquette onto the scoreboard. Luba’s first goal of the season lit a fire under the Marquette team.

Four minutes later, senior midfielder Alex Heffron put a shot on net that looked like it would go over the Panther keeper’s head. She hit the ball up and it bounced off the cross bar to senior forward Mady Vicker who was crashing the net. Vicker caught the ball and slammed home the rebound to pull Marquette within two and gave the team more signs of life.

With the two goals, the Golden Eagles started controlling the game and put extensive offensive pressure on the Panther back line. In the 78th minute,  Vicker crossed to sophomore midfielder Liz Bartels, who shot the ball past the Panther keeper. The Golden Eagles were now just one goal away from tying the match.

Marquette continued to apply pressure, and in the 85th minute, sophomore midfielder Meegan Johnston shot the ball towards the near side. The shot bounced off the post and settled with freshman midfielder Heather Handwork. Handwork spun towards the middle and ripped a shot that screeched past the Panther to tie the game at four. Marquette, which was down 4-0 with 27 minutes to play, was just four minutes away from heading to overtime.

“For us, to score four (goals) in less than twenty minutes, that’s a positive sign,” Roeders said.

However, it was one final defensive breakdown that sunk the Golden Eagles.

The Panthers brought the ball down the left side of the pitch, where Behnke crossed the ball in the the middle of the box. There, freshman forward Sydney Senn caught the pass and fired a shot to the far post, past the diving keeper. Senn’s goal, with just 90 seconds left in the game, gave the Panthers their first Milwaukee Cup in four years.

It was a heartbreaking loss for the Golden Eagles, as the team battled back from a 4-0 deficit.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing to lose at the end like this,” Roeders said. “But I really think, in some ways, we lost the game much earlier … we just didn’t get it done today.”

Marquette will try and bounce back when it travels to College Station, Texas, when it takes on Texas A&M Sunday at 7 p.m.