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Down and out in Milwaukee

The women’s soccer team’s tumultuous season came to an end Sunday in, of all places, Milwaukee.

Due to Hurricane Wilma, the Bulls were forced to play their season finale against Syracuse at Valley Fields at the Marquette University campus. The Bulls, who needed a win over Syracuse to secure a berth in the Big East tournament, lost to the Orange on Sunday, 3-2.

“We couldn’t have done anything more than we did; things just didn’t go our way,” senior midfielder Jenny Mulvihill said. “We had so many factors on and off the field this year. We had to overcome a lot.”

The game was originally scheduled for Sunday at USF Soccer Stadium, but the Big East moved the game to Marquette – Syracuse’s opponent on Friday. It was just the latest twist for a Bulls team that has seen more than its share of hardships this season.

“I felt bad for them,” coach Logan Fleck said. “This is a team that was told that their senior game is gone, they’re going to have to play St. John’s at 2 o’clock, and ‘By the way, you are going to have to fly up on Saturday morning, and we don’t know when you are coming back.'”

In the game, which would decide the fifth and final spot in the Big East tournament, the Bulls found themselves down 2-0 to the Orange near the end of the first half. But in the waning moments of the half, senior forward Katie Reed cut the Syracuse lead by scoring off a penalty kick in the 41st minute. It was Reed’s second goal in the last two games and the 11th of her career.

“(Reed) worked her tail off. She left everything on the field,” Fleck said. “The NCAA rules won’t let her play another year, but I wish she could.”

Syracuse scored another goal 15 minutes into the half, but the Bulls fought hard until the end, netting a goal in the 89th minute when sophomore Jeanette Dyer sneaked in a goal off an assist from senior midfielder Michelle Buskey.

“(Syracuse) got up, then we fought like crazy to get back in,” Fleck said. “We showed some great character, and I was very proud of our effort.”

With all the injuries and scheduling miscues, the Bulls (7-7-3, 2-6-3 Big East) finished sixth in the Big East’s Division A – one spot higher then the seventh they were predicted to finish in the preseason. Of all teams he has coached, Fleck said that he has never been more proud of any other team than this one – especially its seniors.

“I’ve won conference championships; all that stuff goes by and by. It’s these kids and what they’ve been through this season. I’m very, very proud of them,” Fleck said. “I’ll miss them all. I’m sure some will come back and be a pain in the butt, but that’s good.”