Golden Eagles lose heartbreaker to Blue Demons in PKs

Photo by Valeria Cardenas/[email protected]

The Marquette women’s soccer team was knocked out of the Big East Tournament Friday night when the Golden Eagles fell to the DePaul Blue Demons in penalty kicks.

Both sides battled strong winds in the first half, which resulted in a slow-moving first 45 minutes. Each team only registered one shot on goal for the first half, as both sides were waiting to capitalize on the other’s mistakes. But none came in the first, and the teams went into halftime tied at zero.

Coach Markus Roeders said the winds, which reached up to 50 mph, were a minor factor during the game, but neither side could take advantage of it.

“I think the wind might have been a little bit of a factor at times,” Roeders said. “But it didn’t decide the game for either (team).”

The Blue Demons came out strong in the second half and immediately challenged Marquette goalkeeper Amanda Engel, but Engel made the save to keep it at zero. The Golden Eagles started to push back and get some scoring chances of their own, but could not get one past DePaul goalkeeper Alejandria Godinez. In total, the Golden Eagles got nine shots on goal, the best coming from senior defender Haley Fritzlen in the 59th minute and sophomore midfielder Meegan Johnston in the 84th. But the sides would stay deadlocked at zero, sending the game into extra time.

The Blue Demons and Golden Eagles continued to play a back and forth match, with DePaul outshooting Marquette 4-2 in the extra frames. But Engel and Godinez both stayed strong, and the game had to be decided by penalty kicks.

Roeders said he tried to find someone who could come up clutch when he chose his personnel for the penalty kicks.

“You get to penalty kicks, you just need someone who can step up in these situations,” Roeders said.

Senior midfielder Mary Luba netted Marquette’s first penalty kick, but that was answered with a DePaul goal. The Golden Eagles took the lead with a goal from Jermier and a DePaul miss, and kept the lead when Johnston and DePaul scored in the third round. With the Golden Eagles leading 3-2 in penalties, DePaul evened up the score with a goal of its own and a Powell miss. Alex Heffron missed Marquette’s final penalty kick, and when DePaul netted its final shot, the Blue Demons advanced with a 4-3 penalty kick victory.

Roeders said the loss to DePaul was a microcosm of his team’s season, but he still believes his Golden Eagles were one of the top teams in the conference regardless of Friday’s results.

“I’m proud of how the team stepped up,” Roeders said. “I think we really showed that we’re amongst the top teams in the league this year. We just didn’t get over that hump, and I think that’s the part that’s disappointing for all of us.”

The Golden Eagles finished the season 10-8-3 and 5-3-1 in conference play. The team will graduate nine seniors, including five starters.

Roeders said the loss hurts because it was the last time the seniors would ever don the blue and gold.

“You don’t feel good for the entire team, but you don’t feel good for the seniors because this is their last hurrah,” Roeders said. “They won’t have another chance. We have to give them a lot of credit and thank them for what they’ve done over the last four or five years.”