The Marquette women’s soccer team rebounded from a difficult road stretch at North Carolina and Duke and turned in two straight productive efforts at Pittsburgh and at home against George Mason last weekend.
The No. 24 Golden Eagles marched out of Pittsburgh with a 5-1 victory Thursday night and shut out George Mason on Sunday, 2-0, in what was Marquette’s last non-conference game of the regular season.
Senior Rachel Brown, juniors Maegan Kelly, Kate Reigle and Ashley Stemmeler and sophomore Mady Vicker all scored in the Pittsburgh romp.
The Golden Eagles scored both of their goals in the second half of the George Mason win – a header from senior Ally Miller in the 50th minute and an empty net score by junior Taylor Madigan in the 61st minute.
Head coach Markus Roeders was satisfied with how his team recovered after defeats to No. 2 Duke and No. 12 North Carolina, two national powerhouse programs.
“Especially against Pittsburgh, we overwhelmed them with our play,” Roeders said. “The benefit of playing Duke and North Carolina really showed in that game. Maybe it didn’t show quite as much today, but at the end of the day you still have to be happy with the result. We got two goals and we got a shutout.”
The Golden Eagles stifled George Mason on defense, allowing just three shots and keeping possession on their own half of the field for a large majority of the match. The Patriots had several breakaway chances but either lost control of possession or could not find an immediate clear shot. George Mason dropped to 4-5-0 after the loss.
Although Sunday’s win was against a non-conference foe, Miller said the teams needs to treat every non-conference match like a Big East match in order to prepare for competition that has much heavier significance.
“Same mindset all the way through,” Miller said. “We want to win and we know that every team is out to get us. We have a target on our back just by having a high standing in the country. Every team will be out for blood against us, so we have to come out knowing that and get the win.”
Roeders shares the same mentality and added that these kinds of games can easily be labeled “trap games” because of the anticipation of looking ahead to conference play.
“Once conference starts you just focus on conference play and the meaning behind it,” Roeders said. “When you’re in that fold and try to go back or step sideways and play a non-conference opponent, no matter if it’s at home or on the road, it can get a little tricky. You don’t like to see any mental letdowns, but I give them a lot of credit for coming out today and putting their best step forward.”
Ahead for Marquette is yet another road swing. The Golden Eagles will spend the weekend in New Jersey as they resume conference play against Seton Hall on Friday and No. 16 Rutgers on Sunday.
Miller realizes how important these upcoming games are and stresses that the team needs to carry this momentum for as long as possible.
“We’ve been playing very well the last three years in the Big East, and we’re just going to keep that going,” Miller said. “Every game in the Big East is a big game, and every opponent is really strong, so we’ll have to play our best.”