The NCAA announced the field of 64 for the 2017 women’s soccer College Cup on Monday afternoon, and YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles were not a part of the bracket.
Marquette finished the season with a record of 13-7-1, but ultimately that was not enough to earn them an at-large bid to the national championship tournament. With a 64 team field, the selection process is not entirely unlike the men’s basketball tournament. The Golden Eagles finished with an RPI of 51, which most likely disqualified them from the tournament at face value. On top of that, MU did not have a single top 60 win to their credit this season according to the final RPI rankings. Their best win was the home date against #69 Drake back in late August. The Golden Eagles played just four matches against top 50 teams this season, and lost those matches by a collective score of 14-0.
It’s not a surprise that Marquette was left out, but it is a bummer. This means that MU has missed the tournament for the third time in the past four seasons. It’s just the second time in Markus Roeders’ 22 year tenure as head coach that the Golden Eagles have been out of the tournament so frequently, and the first time was in Roeders’ first three seasons before qualifying for the tournament in season four back in 1999. That tournament appearance was also the first time the Marquette program had gotten into the NCAA tournament at all as Roeders was hired as head coach in year four of the program, so there’s a certain amount of understandable buildup there.
This isn’t to say that things are in disarray under Roeders. Far from it, in fact. It’s hard to claim that when he’s never had a losing season in 22 years. The closest he’s ever come was an 8-8-3 record in 2015, but Marquette bounced back from that with a Big East regular season title in 2016. It’s hard to rattle off six straight NCAA tournament appearances like Marquette did between 2008 and 2013, and there was bound to be some shaky times ahead after that streak snapped.
Before we wrap up here, we have to say THANK YOU to Marquette’s seniors: Eli Beard, Madison Dunker, Caroline Fink, Darian Powell, and Kirsten Timmer. As we’ve discussed here, their four years on campus have not been populated by the most successful time in program history, but that hasn’t had any impact on the heart and soul that they’ve poured into the team. All of them have played major roles on the team at some point in their time wearing the blue & gold, and MU fans everywhere have to appreciate the hard work and hustle that they’ve put in to giving the best performance they could.
We have to give a special note of thanks to Darian Powell, who is actually finishing up her sixth season with Marquette. Her first two years on campus were wiped out by injuries, and she played this past season on a medical redshirt waiver from the NCAA. With her five goals and career high four assists this season, she goes out on a high note, but more than that, Powell has etched her name into the Marquette record book. Her 23 career goals are the eighth most in program history, and her 10 game winning goals are tied with now-assistant coach Ashley Bares for the sixth most in program history. It’s a hell of a story to see Powell go from injuries robbing her of the ability to play to one of the best scorers that Marquette has ever seen, and MU fans couldn’t be prouder of what she’s accomplished.