Excitement On the Pitch

Jeff Wolf of MarquetteHoops.com looks at Marquette's Lady Golden Eagles soccer, a program looking for its third-straight post-season appearance this season under head coach Marcus Roeders.

The outcome appeared grim for Marquette late. Then suddenly, the team's MVP had the ball in their possession, dribbled through defenders and finished with a game-clinching score. Jubilation erupted from the sideline.

No, this is not Jerel McNeal's last-second steal and lay-up against South Florida. Rather, this is the work of Allison Mallams.

And the sport is women's soccer.

Mallams, now a senior, scored the golden goal in the 103rd minute against perennial powerhouse UConn for a 1-0 triumph last September 22.

The Golden Eagles seemed to have a flair for the dramatic last season. Three weeks later they utilized another key play late to down a highly ranked opponent. This time it was freshman and Waukesha native Anna Sawicki putting the kibosh on #17 Louisville, heading in a corner kick from teammate Katie Kelly in the 84th minute for the only goal of the match.

After starting last year a disappointing 2-4-3, Marquette quickly turned things around to become one of the most feared squads in the country. After Mallams' heroics against UConn, the Golden Eagles finished 8-2-1 in their remaining regular season games. They went on a run of 6 straight wins if you include a 1-0 triumph against Villanova in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

A heartbreaking shootout loss to Florida in the second round of the NCAA Tournament ended the Golden Eagles' season last year. But after a strong spring campaign, expectations are high once again. Marquette comes into this season ranked #30 in the country by Soccer Buzz magazine, and they check in at third in the tough Big East American Division according to the conference's preseason coaches' poll.

The team returns seven starters from a year ago, including top two scorers Mallams (8 goals, 8 assists) and fellow senior Christy Zwolski (5 goals, 7 assists). Zwolski was also one of 17 individuals to be named to the United States Adult Soccer Association National Team in July.

Senior goalkeeper Laura Boyer, who posted a 0.74 goals-against average last fall, comes into this season fifth all-time on the Marquette career saves list. She will captain a stalwart defense that includes returnees Kelly and Shannon Cusick.

Marquette opens play at Valley Fields Friday night at 7:30. They will host the University of Washington as the opening match of the Milwaukee Cup.

**Jeff Wolf is MarquetteHoops.com's Head Student Writer and is a sophomore majoring in Advertising.

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