Marquette to Play for BIG EAST American Division Championship
Oct. 23, 2008
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette women's soccer team will look to capture its first BIG EAST American Division title when it goes head to head with No. 17/15/15 West Virginia, Friday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at Valley Fields. It will also be a special night for seniors Katie Kelly, Shannon Cusick and Kelli DeBarge as the trio will be honored in a annual pre-game senior night ceremony. Marquette will close out the regular season hosting Pittsburgh on Sunday at 1 p.m.
"We have an exciting weekend ahead of us. The opportunity to play for a BIG EAST Divisional Championship doesn't present itself every day," said head coach Markus Roeders. "A season is a marathon in many ways and we are looking at the finish line. We have one of the top teams in the Big East and in the country, West Virginia, coming to Valley Fields and they will be just as eager and determined to play for a title. We will have to play our best soccer this weekend or we won't be rewarded."
The Golden Eagles, who have already clinched a first round bye in the BIG EAST Tournament, stand at 5-2-2 in conference play and are in second place with 17 points, one point behind defending BIG EAST American Division Champion and tournament champion West Virginia (5-1-3, 18 points) with two games remaining on each team's schedule. The Mountaineers will close out the season at USF on Sunday. Pittsburgh (3-5-1, 10 points) is tied for fifth place with USF and still looking to stamp its ticket to the league tournament. The Panthers will play at USF on Friday before traveling to Milwaukee.
"West Virginia is talented and well coached. Once we move past that game, we will think about Pittsburgh who is also a difficult squad. They are coming of a big weekend at home having defeated Georgetown and a tie with Villanova. We can't say enough about the level of play in the BIG EAST and every team expects a 'dog fight' every single time out."
There is a lot on the line this weekend, especially for seniors Cusick, DeBarge and Kelly as this weekend's home matches will be the last of the regular season. Kelly is the only one of the three that has donned the blue and gold for all four seasons whiel Cusick and DeBarge both transferred here their sophomore seasons. Regardless of their paths to MU, all three seniors have made lasting impressions on the Marquette women's soccer programs.
With these seniors in tow the Golden Eagles have made back-to-back appearances in the BIG EAST Tournament semifinals, a run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2005 and the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2006. Their work on the field carried over to the classroom as they have been recognized by the NSCAA as a College Team Academic Award winner each of the last 12 years.
"Shannon, Katie and Kelli have left their mark on our program. All three arrived under difference circumstances and we are grateful that they chose Marquette as their home. They have had a tremendous influence on our teams and program over the past few years. We have laughed a lot and shed a few tears but our 'family' wouldn't be where it is today without them. Many thanks to them and the commitment they have made over the years," said Roeders.