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Becker: WSOC building tournament resume

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Becker: WSOC building tournament resume

Liz Bartels is at the center of the Golden Eagles offensive success.

Liz Bartels is at the center of the Golden Eagles offensive success.

Photo by Austin Anderson

Liz Bartels is at the center of the Golden Eagles offensive success.

Photo by Austin Anderson

Photo by Austin Anderson

Liz Bartels is at the center of the Golden Eagles offensive success.

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Marquette women’s soccer began the season with lofty goals — a BIG EAST title and an NCAA tournament berth.

The Golden Eagles are certainly underdogs to win the conference — No. 10 Georgetown is the heavy favorite — but Markus Roeders’ side is still in the mix for a national tournament appearance.

Two opening weekend losses hurt, but since then they’ve been building a solid resume.

Since opening weekend, Marquette is 4-2-2, with losses to a pair of undefeated teams, No. 25 Northwestern and No. 1 Stanford.

The four wins are highlighted by a victory over RPI No. 24 Michigan.

The two draws balance each other out, one on the road at RPI No. 39 Santa Clara and the other at home against RPI No. 176 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Marquette is ranked No. 44 in the RPI in spite of its 4-4-2 record because of the difficulty of its non-conference schedule.

The BIG EAST has sent multiple teams to the tournament every year since the 2013 realignment. That’s an encouraging fact for Marquette, who is definitively the second best team in the conference, for now.

DePaul finished second in the preseason BIG EAST coaches’ poll, one point ahead of Marquette, but the Blue Demons (2-4-2) were brutal in non-conference play.

Outside of Georgetown, the trio of Creighton, Butler and Providence were solid non-conference play. All three are in the RPI top 100.

If the Golden Eagles are to earn an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament, they’ll need to be consistent.
First, they need to win against DePaul, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova and Xavier.

Additionally, they need to get an equal number of wins and losses against Georgetown, Creighton, Butler and Providence.

If Marquette can earn a win or draw against Georgetown, it would make up for a slip-up in any other game in conference play.

For the sake of simplicity, 18 points from nine conference games and an appearance in the BIG EAST Tournament championship game would make Marquette a near lock for soccer’s big dance.

The path to the tournament is clear, but the margin for error after a four-loss, non-conference run is smaller than Marquette hoped for.

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