Women’s soccer looks for fifth straight conference title

Taylor Madigan wantd to win a fourth Big East title. Photo courtesy of Marquette Images
Taylor Madigan wants to win a fourth Big East title. Photo courtesy of Marquette Images

With 17 straight winning seasons, five NCAA Tournament appearances in a row and four consecutive Big East American Division titles, it’s safe to say the Marquette women’s soccer team has had its share of success.

Ranked No. 20 in the latest national poll, the Golden Eagles are poised to have yet another memorable fall campaign.

“More than anything, we’ve established consistency,” head coach Markus Roeders said. “We’re on a rock solid foundation with our program and the players that we have and are coming in. They’re buying in to what we’re trying to do. They have a winning mentality. They’re embracing our tradition and our style of play.”

Roeders is trusting his eight seniors will act as role models for the team and use their experience from high-intensity NCAA Tournament and Big East matches to help new players adjust. At the same time, he knows in order for the seniors to earn their coveted fourth-straight Big East title, it will take a team effort.

“I think that’s maybe one of the most difficult things for them to attain,” Roeders said. “I think they have very high expectations, maybe even higher than what (the coaching staff) has. They are trying to lead their way for the year and at the same time they also understand they can’t do it themselves. Everybody on this team has to do their part, no matter how big or small.”

Senior midfielder Taylor Madigan realizes that although a Big East Championship would cap off her remarkable Marquette career, nothing is guaranteed.

“We definitely want to get another Big East Championship, but it’s all going to depend on how we’re doing this season and how we all come together,” Madigan said. “We can’t really bank on that now. We have to keep working hard and hopefully it’ll pay off in the end.”

The Golden Eagles will be a relatively youthful squad this fall with 13 freshmen on the roster. Senior midfielder Maegan Kelly wants this season to teach lessons to the young players who will no doubt need to carry on the strong reputation Marquette has formed.

“I would just say soak everything up each day and work as hard as possible, because working hard helps the person right next to you and working hard helps you,” Kelly said.

The team’s season already started with a loss to nationally ranked Portland Friday and a comeback win at defending Big Sky Conference champion Portland State Sunday. The schedule remains challenging for the time being as the Golden Eagles battle No. 4 UCLA tomorrow in South Bend, Ind.

Having a demanding schedule to start the season will make better prepare the Golden Eagles for league play. Marquette will also face Oakland University, Colorado College and Colgate, all teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament last year. In the new Big East that will only have one regular season champion rather than two, Marquette is among the favorites along with Georgetown.

“We want to have a really good non-conference slate and do well there because I think that will catapult us into the conference season,” Roeders said. “Arguably, us and Georgetown are the favorites and we have them at home in October. That might come down to being the match of the year in the Big East.”

Marquette has not lost at home since Oct. 30, 2011 and finished 10-0-1 at Valley Fields last season en route to an 18-2-3 season. The team’s first home match is scheduled for next Friday against Saint Mary’s as a part of the Marquette Invitational.