Marquette Women’s Soccer: Unstoppable force takes New York by storm

Maegan Kelly strikes the ball past her opponent. Photo by Elise Krivit/elise.krivit@marquette.edu

It’s getting to the point where neither rain nor a tricky turf field can slow down the runaway train that is the Marquette women’s soccer team (16-2-0, 9-1-0 Big East) on its way to another American Division title.

The Golden Eagles allowed St. John’s (8-8-1, 4-6-0 Big East) and Syracuse (7-6-3, 6-4-0 Big East) to stay in the game for one half in each game but still cruised to their seventh and eighth straight victories, clinching a bye into the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament along the way.

“On Friday, we had to battle some rain and the difficult turf at St. John’s, but I thought we played well and got the win we needed,” sophomore forward Maegan Kelly said.

The team struggled during the beginning of Sunday’s game, sophomore midfielder Cara Jacobson said, but pulled itself together during halftime.

“Sunday we didn’t play all that great in the first half, but we came together as a team at halftime and just talked about the types of adjustments we needed to make and what was working and what wasn’t.”

Friday’s match with St. John’s was played on FieldTurf at the Red Storm’s Belson Stadium, the first time Marquette has played on FieldTurf this season.

FieldTurf is a brand of artificial playing surface composed of fibers, sand and rubber, according FieldTurf.com.

It is a common surface for many football and baseball stadiums around the world, but not one that is often used for soccer matches.

Kelly, Jacobson and coach Markus Roeders each mentioned the surface in interviews, but all said the team adjusted well and knew what they were up against coming into the game.

“St. John’s uses the turf to their advantage, and it is a tough place to win for that reason,” Roeders said. “We were eventually able to manage our game and got out to an early lead and held on at the end.”

Sophomore midfielder Taylor Madigan scored her sixth goal of the season in the 26th minute, and Jacobson added the game-winner in the 76th minute, before St. John’s Caitlyn McLaughlin tallied the Red Storm’s only goal in the 81st minute, giving Marquette a 2-1 win.

Sunday’s 4-0 win on a cold, rainy day at SU Stadium against a physical Syracuse team may have been the Golden Eagles most impressive victory to date. After going into halftime locked at 0, Marquette exploded for three goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

“Syracuse hadn’t allowed many goals this year, so to get a few right away in the second half I think really took the wind out of their sails,” Roeders said.

Kelly notched her 13th and 14th goals of the season in a span of six minutes to put the game out of reach. Junior defender Ally Miller scored her first goal of the season and junior midfielder Brittney Scott added her second goal of the year.

With Miller’s goal, 18 different Golden Eagles have found the back of the net this year, and Marquette has now outscored its opponents 48-12.

“It just shows the tremendous depth we have as a team, and it doesn’t matter who is out there. We expect everyone to score if they have the opportunity,” Kelly said.

The wins ensure Marquette will host a quarterfinal match on Oct. 30, likely against Notre Dame, who sits in third place of the National Division of the Big East with 17 points.

However, the Golden Eagles will welcome South Florida to Valley Fields on Saturday for Senior Night, where the team will honor its three seniors: forward Lindsey Page, defender Kerry McBride and goalkeeper Natalie Kulla.

“It will be great to recognize our seniors for the contributions they had to our team over the last four years with a chance to clinch a third straight division title,” Roeders said.