3. TV PREVIEW: Familiar foes square off


Formerly foes in Conference USA, No. 17 Marquette and Saint Louis will renew their women's series Wednesday night in the opening game of the NSCAA College Match of the Week series (live, Fox Soccer Channel, 8 p.m. ET) in St. Louis as rivals, plain and simple.

Marquette (2-0-1), which reached the NCAA Division I third round last year and finished 19-4-1, has yet to be scored on this year, having beaten Sacred Heart 9-0 and Bowling Green 3-0 before battling Drake to a 0-0 tie last Friday night. The Golden Eagles haven't been tested, having outshot their foes, 68-9. Keeper Laura Boyer, who is on the preseason list of 25 candidates for the Hermann Trophy, hasn't yet had to show why she's so highly regarded, with just four saves in 252 minutes of action.

The Billikens (2-1-1) may provide that setting. Led by Courtney Hulcer (15 assists last year) and a potent attack featuring Maureen Hughes and Cassi Winchell, they are defending Atlantic-10 Conference regular season and tournament champions. Only two starters are missing from the squad that finished 16-5-0 after qualifying for the postseason for the first time since the program began in 1996. SLU defeated Stanford 2-0 before losing to Santa Clara 4-0 in the second round.

SLU has already had several tough tests on the road in 2006. It lost at Duke, 3-1, in its opening game, but beat Loyola (Md.), 4-1, and tied Arizona State, 1-1, over the weekend at the Sun Devils' tournament in Tempe, Ariz.

"It's always a good game," says Tim Champion, who has coached the SLU women's team since its inception. "They always play good defense, they like to hold the ball, and they have an outstanding goalkeeper. It should be a good test for our team."

Saint Louis is 2-5-3 overall against Marquette and has yet to beat the Golden Eagles at home. All seven games that didn't end in a tie have been decided by a single goal.
    Top 25 women's action on Tuesday:

  • No. 21 Boston University had to settle for a 0-0 tie with Brown. Terrier goalie Stephanie Dreyer preserved the shutout in the New England battle with a point-blank save on Brown's Kerrilynn Carney in overtime.
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