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Marquette Women’s Soccer: Schunk ready to fill bigger gloves

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Junior defender Megan Jaskowiak said freshman goalkeeper Sofie Schunk's experience will help her improve further in the coming season. Tribune File Photo.

The comparisons to Natalie Kulla, justified or not, will begin for redshirt freshman goalkeeper Sofie Schunk when she takes the pitch in the fall.

Kulla ended her career as arguably the most successful goalkeeper in Marquette history, winning back-to-back Big East Goalkeeper of the Year awards and also being named an All-Big East First Team player her final two seasons, among many other honors.

Schunk isn’t worried about the pressure of taking over in net, however, as she has gotten off to a strong start this spring and believes her play will pick up in the fall.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a real game before the last couple, but it’s fun getting back into it,” Schunk said. “It’s more challenging than I thought it would be, but I’m learning and it’s fun playing with girls my age now.”

Schunk is the only goalkeeper on the roster, but that will change in the fall when two freshmen will challenge her for playing time.

Junior defender Megan Jaskowiak believes that Schunk’s two years of experience in the program will be beneficial to her seeing more time in goal next year.

“Sophie is a hard worker and she knows what is expected of her, whereas the freshman won’t have that yet,” Jaskowiak said.

Schunk will be a sophomore in the fall after redshirting two years ago and appearing in games against Saint Louis and North Dakota last fall. She also gained valuable experience by watching Kulla for two years and trying to incorporate some lessons into her game this spring.

“I’ve learned a lot about learning to direct players in the back, and that’s still something that I’m trying to get better at,” Schunk said. “I think that’s something that (Kulla) was really good at, just owning everything that was around her and make sure everything is flowing.”

Schunk was a two-sport athlete at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, N.M., and earned a nomination for both the all-state player of the year and the Wendy’s High School Heisman, in addition to being named to the ESPN RISE girls soccer second team.

Schunk led La Cueva to back-to-back district championships and the New Mexico Big School 5A runner-up in 2009 in addition to winning the 4×400-meter relay state championship as a track athlete in 2007.

How her performance in high school will translate to success on the pitch remains to be seen, but a 2-1-1 start in the spring season is certainly a step in the right direction.

Schunk posted a 2-0 win against Northwestern on Saturday night after drawing 2-2 with Illinois earlier in the day.

Coach Markus Roeders has seen improvement with Schunk’s game so far in the spring after getting off to a tough start in a 4-2 loss to Illinois State two weeks ago.

“I think Sofie is getting better each day,” Roeders said. “It’s all about getting more experience out there and those kinds of things take time, but we’re certainly happy to have her, and I think she can do some great things.”

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