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Marquette not selected for NCAA tournament

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Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

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For the first time since 2011, the Marquette men’s soccer team will not be heading to the NCAA tournament.

Marquette was not one of the 48 schools chosen to compete for this year’s College Cup. Representing the Big East is conference tournament champion Providence, along with Xavier, Creighton and Georgetown, who received at-large bids.

The announcement is a premature end of the road for the Golden Eagles, who had their sights set on another tournament run. Early in the season, they were certainly on the right track to do so.

Marquette began its season with quite a daunting task. As part of the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic, the Golden Eagles faced two top programs in then-No.1 Notre Dame and Indiana.

Although Marquette lost both matches, the team proved it could compete with the best teams in the country. The Golden Eagles wouldn’t lose another non-conference game.

Marquette began its shutout streak a week later with its two Panther Invitational matches. The Golden Eagles would beat both Drake and Oregon State to win the tournament title. The matches were the first in a six match shutout streak, earning redshirt senior keeper Charlie Lyon the longest shutout streak in program history.

The successful start to the season was highlighted by two commanding victories over their in-state rivals Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, winning both matches by a 2-0 score. Redshirt junior C. Nortey produced when Marquette needed it most, scoring three times between the two games.

Marquette received national praise, making it into the top-10 in the country at the height of its season. Picked as the co-favorite to win the Big East in the preseason, the Golden Eagles were playing up to their lofty expectations.

Until conference play, it seemed as if nothing could go wrong for Marquette.

Results did not take a turn for the worse immediately into the Big East season. Marquette opened up conference play with a respectable 0-0 tie against then-No. 7 Georgetown, followed by a 2-0 victory against St. John’s.

Marquette hit its first road bump Oct. 15 at Butler. Butler struggled coming into the match, going 1-3-0 in Big East play. All it took was one goal in the 7th minute, ending Lyon’s shutout minute streak, to down the Golden Eagles. Marquette began to find itself short for goals, despite the fact the team continued to create opportunities.

In the heart of conference play, Marquette scored only two goals in five matches, making it tough for any team, even with a top-flight defensive unit, to leave the pitch victorious. After the Butler match, the Golden Eagles tied the next two games against Villanova and Providence, before suffering shutout losses to the eventual conference tournament top seeds Xavier and Creighton.

The Golden Eagles found their scoring touch in their second-to-last match against Seton Hall, but coincidentally, it was their toughest defensive match as well. Their three goals weren’t enough, as they tied the Pirates.

The team that had so many expectations faced a must-win situation in its final match against DePaul. Not only did it need to win, they also needed a Seton Hall tie or loss to Xavier in order to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive by locking up the final spot in the conference tournament.

The Golden Eagles took care of business, routing DePaul 4-0. With help from Xavier, the Golden Eagles secured the final spot, and flew to Georgetown to battle the Hoyas.

Marquette had an opportunity to live another day, to push its ranking up enough that if it lost in the second round it still might have had a chance. Georgetown, however, was just too much for the Golden Eagles. Only able to get on the board through an own-goal, Marquette fell to the Hoyas 2-1, bringing its season to a conclusion.

It’s the end of the road for seniors; goalkeeper Charlie Lyon, midfielder Luis Trude, midfielder Brady Wahl and midfielder Sebastian Jansson, and most likely redshirt junior Axel Sjoberg, who is rumored to be leaving to pursue professional opportunities. As for the rest of the players, they will be preparing the rest of the season for 2015 and a chance for redemption.

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