This past year in Marquette sports is one that won’t soon be forgotten. Choosing the 10 best moments proved to be a tall order, and many worthy stories had to be left out. Without further ado, here are the top stories that stole the headlines in Milwaukee since August:
10. Three volleyball players named All-Americans
Junior middle hitter Danielle Carlson, freshman setter Chelsea Heier and senior outside hitter Ciara Jones were named Honorable Mention All-Americans for their efforts last season. The three raised coach Bond Shymansky’s number of All-Americans at Marquette to six. The Marquette program has seen just eight All-Americans in its history.
9. Mallace becomes first Marquette player drafted by an MLS team
Calum Mallace, who was named the 2011 Big East Midfielder of the Year, was drafted 20th overall by the Montreal Impact on Jan. 12. Mallace finished his career at Marquette with 13 goals and 13 assists and was named Second Team All-American in 2011 by College Soccer News.
8. Kulla named Big East Scholar Athlete of the Year
Not only did Natalie Kulla finish her career as the most decorated goalkeeper in Marquette history, she also took home the Big East Scholar Athlete of the Year, the first for any athlete at Marquette. Kulla was named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Year twice and is the holder of Marquette’s single season (16) and career (43) shutout records.
7. Cross-country matches best Big East finish ever
A seventh place finish at the Big East Conference Cross Country Championships for the men’s cross-country team equaled its highest finish at the Championships since joining the Big East in 2005. The team then went on to finish eighth at the NCAA Great Lakes Region Championships the following weekend, which was the team’s highest finish at that meet since 2007.
6. Mitchell records win No. 300
Although it was a rebuilding year for the women’s basketball program, head coach Terri Mitchell picked up her 300th career win in a 96-35 rout of New Orleans on Nov. 29. Mitchell finished her 16th season on the bench with Golden Eagles with a record of 310-188 and is the winningest coach in program history.
5. A three-peat for women’s soccer
While the men’s soccer and women’s volleyball team’s shocked a lot of people with their runs this year, the women’s soccer team continued its dominance of the Big East and college soccer landscape by winning its third straight American Division title. Marquette advanced to the NCAA Tournament and knocked off Toledo before falling to Penn State in the second round.
4. Volleyball earns first NCAA Tournament bid
After coming within a set of playing for the Big East Championship on its home court, the Marquette women’s volleyball team had to wait in angst to see if it would be invited to the NCAA Tournament. The word came and the Golden Eagles knocked off Western Kentucky 3-1 before falling to eventual national runner-up Illinois on the Fighting Illini’s home floor.
3. Men’s soccer shocks the Big East
For the first time in program history, the Marquette men’s soccer team won the Big East Blue Division after a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh on Oct. 29. The title was the Golden Eagles’ first since 2002 and just the third in program history. Marquette was picked sixth in the eight-team division to begin the year but finished 9-8-2 overall and 6-2-0 in conference play.
2. Crowder named Big East Player of the Year
Crowder finished the regular season averaging 17.6 points per game, which ranked third in the Big East, and also hauled in 7.9 rebounds per game, the No. 9 mark in the conference. Crowder was also a pest on defense, recording 88 steals, which put him one back of the regular season program record. Crowder was also an AP Second Team All-American selection and was named to the John R. Wooden Award All-America Team.
1. Golden Eagles soar to second straight Sweet 16
Led by the senior leadership of guard Darius Johnson-Odom and Crowder, the Marquette men’s basketball team cruised to a 25-6 regular season record and finished second in the Big East, its highest finish ever. After wins over BYU and Murray State, only a cold shooting night against Florida prevented a rubber match with Louisville for a spot in the Final Four.