Marquette Women’s Soccer: A welcome return to Valley Fields

Junior midfielder Ashley Stemmeler knows the team has to keep its focus to get six more points this weekend. Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.

The Marquette women’s soccer team finally hosts a pair of Big East opponents this weekend, beginning with Louisville on Friday night.

The Golden Eagles, fresh off a 2-0 road trip to Seton Hall and Rutgers last weekend, have played five of their last six games away from Valley Fields.

“The routine is that there is no routine,” Pelaez said. “It’s always good to be home and I think especially the upperclassmen cherish where they’re at and try to protect it.”

Beginning with the game against the Cardinals, the Golden Eagles will play five of their final regular season games at home, with the goal to host a Big East conference tournament game and ultimately an NCAA Tournament game.

Louisville will not be a pushover, however. The Cardinals enter Valley Fields with a 7-2-1 record, the same as Marquette.

To begin the season, the Cardinals rattled off four straight wins before falling to Kentucky at home on Sept. 7. Their other loss came at Notre Dame on Sept. 14 but they have outscored Big East opponents 10-3 in four games.

Louisville has been paced by junior midfielder Angelika Uremovich’s eight goals and also has double-digit point totals from junior forward Charlyn Corral (12) and sophomore midfielder Erin Yenney (11).

“It’s exciting to play Louisville on Friday night because those night games tend to have a different feel to begin with,” junior midfielder Ashley Stemmeler said. “It will be good to play that competitive team right away and have a lot of energy going into the game.”

Scoring against Louisville will not be an easy task with senior goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer, a Whitefish Bay, Wis. native, in net. Kiefer has allowed just nine goals in 10 games and has recorded 24 saves.

Kiefer burst onto the scene last year, earning nine shutouts and a 1.07 goals against average, the No. 3 mark in program history.

Cincinnati, Marquette’s second weekend opponent, has struggled this season, entering play Friday against South Florida with a 4-6-1 record. The Bearcats beat St. John’s at home last Friday, but have lost six of their last seven games after beginning the year 3-0-1 with wins over North Carolina State, Northeastern and Eastern Kentucky.

Freshman forward Laura Rose is the only player on the roster with more than eight points, and the Bearcats have been outscored 15-4 over their last seven games.

Marquette goalkeeper Amanda Engel stressed the need to not look past Cincinnati, however, with the goal of keeping up intensity throughout both matches in mind.

“We just want to come away with two wins, especially at home in front of our fans,” Engel said.

The Centennial, Colo., native has replaced redshirt sophomore Sofie Schunk as the starter in net the past four games and has taken full advantage.

Though the pair did split time against Seton Hall, Engel is 4-0 and has allowed just one goal in four games since being named the starter.

“I started out with a rocky beginning to my season after suffering a concussion in the preseason, but everything feels really natural and I’m still learning things,” Engel said.