Women’s soccer to begin Big East play

Senior defender Katie Miller (24) is the leader of a back line that will look to continue to frustrate opponents going into the Big East season.

Senior defender Katie Miller (24) is the leader of a back line that will look to continue to frustrate opponents going into the Big East season.

There are many similarities between this year’s women’s soccer team and the 2008 squad. Seven games into the season, the team boasts a 5-2-0 record and has allowed just three goals. Last year, the team was 4-3-0 through its first seven matches, allowing just four goals in that span.

So what has changed from last season?

“There’s just something different this year,” junior midfielder Julia Victor said. “Rather than in past years, we all have a lot more confidence going into the conference season. I don’t know exactly why, but it just feels like we’re going to win.”

For the fifth consecutive year, Marquette will open its Big East season against the South Florida Bulls (2-3-1). The Golden Eagles defeated South Florida 1-0 in Tampa last year and will bring the action to Valley Fields this time around.

“It’s just great to be at home for the Big East opener,” coach Markus Roeders said. “It’s the next big game, and it’s conference now so you can throw a lot of things out the window.”

Coming off a 1-0 victory over No. 23 Minnesota Sunday, Roeders was pleased with the team’s performance and stressed its importance going into conference season.

“The Minnesota win was important because they were a good team and were nationally ranked,” he said. “It’s kind of a key victory that helps us keep building momentum for South Florida.”

A big reason for the Golden Eagles’ success has been the defense. Made up of a great goalkeeper, a dynamic sister duo, and two solid outside backs, this defensive line has frustrated many opposing forwards.

“(Natalie) Kulla in the back is a great anchor, and that’s a great start for our defense,” senior defender Katie Miller said about the team’s goalkeeper. “We’ve always been tough and we’ve always been solid. It’s all about being confident and aggressive for us.”

Miller said the defense plays a diamond back formation with a sweeper and a stopper—a strategy both Marquette and South Florida incorporate.

“One of the things about South Florida is that they have a similar defensive shape as us,” Miller said. “That will be something different for our forwards.

“We don’t make it about our opponents, though, it’s more about us and being comfortable and confident with Marquette soccer.”

Victor said every game for the team is important, but the Big East is where it all begins.

“The real season starts now,” Victor said. “If we do what we can during the regular Big East season, we won’t have to worry about getting an at large bid for the NCAA tournament.”

Victor had the assist on Marquette’s lone goal in Sunday’s win over Minnesota, a game she said meant more than just another tally in the win column.

“I think it was good for us, one, because of what beating Minnesota meant for us, and two, to be on a winning streak going into conference.”

In terms of the South Florida game, Roeders understands the importance of conference season and knows his team will have to work for good results.

“Every game is important from here on out,” he said. “We have a lot to play for if we want to reach the goals that we have.”