Seniors Rachel Brown and Ally Miller both admit they have thought about their time winding down at Marquette, but they are choosing to focus on the present moment instead of reflecting too much.
“I’ve had a great four years here and have done a lot of great things, but there is still work to be done,” Brown said. “We still have plenty of soccer left to play.”
Marquette has a chance to clinch its fourth straight American Division title with wins against St. John’s and Syracuse this weekend. The Golden Eagles have already clinched a bye into the Big East Tournament quarterfinals.
The match against the Red Storm Friday night should be, at least on paper, the easier of the two contests.
St. John’s will enter Valley Fields at 6-7-1 and are just 2-4-1 in Big East play. Two of those wins have come recently, however, as the Red Storm have a three-match unbeaten streak after beating Rutgers and Seton Hall and earning a draw against Pittsburgh.
St. John’s boasts a 2-0 win over George Mason, the only common non-conference opponent it shares with Marquette.
Freshman midfielder Emily Cubbage leads the team with three goals and is the only player with more than six points. The Red Storm have gotten at least one goal from 12 players but don’t have a star on offense.
“The next three games are all important and we have to do our job for seeding in the Big East Tournament,” coach Markus Roeders said. “We just have to keep winning.”
The Orange travel to South Florida Friday before coming to Milwaukee in what could be a huge game for seeding purposes. If the Orange beat the Bulls and Marquette falls to St. John’s, a win for Syracuse would vault them ahead of the Golden Eagles in the standings.
Syracuse is 5-1-1 in Big East play, with its lone conference loss coming on Sept. 16 at Providence. The Orange have won their last four games and sit just three points behind Marquette in conference play. The Bulls are five points back at 4-1-2.
Senior midfielder Alyscha Mottershead and freshman midfielder Jackie Firenze each have four goals for the Orange, who boast four players with at least eight points.
Junior goalkeeper Brittany Anghel is already one of the best goalkeepers in program history and one of the best in the conference.
While Anghel has allowed 15 goals in 14 matches this year, she has four shutouts and is second in Syracuse history with 17 shutouts in fewer than three seasons.
“A lot of the teams this year have lost some games and beat other teams that maybe they shouldn’t have, so it’s not really a sure thing (to get a win),” Miller said. “Every team is going to compete, and you have to come out with your best game in order to win.”
When asked to reflect on the careers of Brown and Miller, Roeders was his typical complimentary self.
“Ally, I think, when she came in, she’s a different player now and she’s grown into a role and grown as a player and the leadership she provides,” Roeders said. “Rachel has really come into her own with her level of play, consistency and maturity.”
For the five seniors on the roster, only four more games are guaranteed, but if recent history is any indication, this team will be playing well into November once again.