MILWAUKEE – The women's soccer teams for Marquette and UWM were on a collision course leading into Wednesday night.
Both teams entered the night ranked in the top-25 by Soccer America (UWM at no. 24 and Marquette at no. 25). Both were also coming off impressive weekend performances, where they each beat Samford and Ohio State as part of the Milwaukee Cup tournament. UWM claimed the tournament title over Marquette by virtue of goal differential, and the Panthers had a chance to solidify their crown by beating the Golden Eagles head-to-head at Valley Fields.
Thanks to freshman sensation Sarah Hagen, they did just that.
Hagen scored her sixth goal of the young season off a corner kick in the 71st minute, beating Marquette keeper Chelsey Turner for the game's only tally.
The eventual scoring opportunity came after a heart-stopping series in which Hagen and Turner twice met one-on-one in the box, with Turner making two spectacular slide tackles to deny the UWM forward.
"Really the only opportunity they had was the back-to-back play with the breakaway and the ensuing corner kick," said Marquette Head Coach Marcus Roeders. "It came down to a set play and one team took advantage and we didn't."
Panthers goalkeeper Erin Kane also played an impressive match, as she denied several early chances for Marquette to keep the game scoreless until Hagen's breakthrough goal.
Marquette controlled the tempo early and managed to create several scoring opportunities before halftime. Midway through the first half, a Katie Kelly corner kick intended for the head of Julia Victor was punched away by Kane at the last minute. Later, in what was probably Marquette's best scoring chance, a shot attempt by Kelly Wepking off a cross from Anna Sawicki sailed just high. Lauren Acree also had a well-placed lofting shot punched over the net by Kane in the first half.
"We didn't finish the chances we created, and that part has to continue to get better." said Roeders.
Marquette's defense, which allowed only five shots in their previous two games combined, also played well in the first half, as senior defenders Shannon Cusick and Kelly combined to limit the touches of Hagen and keep the powerful UWM offense from mounting any real threats on net.
However, in the second half the pace began to favor the Panthers as they were able to put together several strong runs down the sideline. The game-winning play developed as UWM was able to lob a pass over Cusick to create Hagen's one-on-one matchup with the keeper.
With the win, UWM improved to 4-0 on the season and 7-5-5 in the all-time series. The Golden Eagles fell to 3-1 on the season. Last year, the teams played to a scoreless overtime draw.
The Golden Eagles taxing non-conference schedule continues as they face BYU Saturday night at Valley Fields. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm CDT.