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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Shutout streak starts from the net out

Photo by Sarah Arnold/Marquette Images
Photo by Sarah Arnold/Marquette Images

It has been four weeks since the Marquette women’s soccer team (15-3-0, 8-0-0) surrendered a goal, but don’t look for the Golden Eagles to pat each other on the back just yet. Five straight matches without allowing a goal is quite conventional for this program.

Marquette, winner of five consecutive Big East regular season titles, has been diligent on the defensive end for several years. Its most recent demonstration is its 491-minute streak of not yielding a score.

“Our back line has been playing really solid this year,” junior midfielder Mady Vicker said. “I’m just proud of all our girls. They always work hard and they deserve it, obviously. It really helps us to let us score.”

Last season, Marquette had two five-game shutout streaks. The team completed two four-game shutout stretches in 2011, and the streak in 2009 lasted seven games.

The Golden Eagles rank 41st in the nation in goals allowed per game, and coach Markus Roeders does not hesitate to credit that to the growing team chemistry.

“The strength for us has always been the team,” Roeders said. “I think in every sport you would love to have that. I think in basketball you’d love to win 82-0. It’s not going to happen most likely, but we have that in our sport. We will always go for that.”

Without doubt, the key contributors to Marquette’s defensive reputation are the goalkeepers, sophomore Amanda Engel and junior Sofie Schunk. Engel, who played 94 percent of the team’s total minutes this year, was immediately put to the test in front of the net last year and lived up to the challenge. She was named to the Big East All-Third Team and to the All-Rookie Team.

Although some of the nine shutouts this fall saw few, if any, shots on goal against Engel, she is always prepared to do her part.

“To start out the way I did is kind of difficult to live up to,” Engel said. “I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”

Engel believes the constant communication in the backfield during games paid dividends for Marquette. She won’t emphasize personal achievements or shutout streaks as long as the wins keep mounting.

“I don’t really focus on it,” Engel said. “I always love getting shutouts and it’s always great. I’m more upset if we don’t, but when we do it’s more just satisfaction. It’s really just the focus on the winning part that I care about.”

Roeders always had elevated expectations for the defense, especially Engel and Schunk. Engel has two years remaining at Marquette, and the exposure in a competitive Big East will only improve her game.

“We have the luxury of not having (just) one, we have a couple of really strong goalkeepers,” Roeders said. “It’s like how it’s not just one defender or two defenders who seem to step up, it’s the whole group.”

The goalies’ success places less stress on the midfielders and forwards to rack up goals, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate what the defense produces.

“The saves they make, it’s really irreplaceable,” Vicker said. “There’s been a couple of really close chances in the last few games and our keepers have come up with big saves and saved our butts. That happens a lot, so the fact they’ve kept us at a clean slate is unreal.”

The Golden Eagles close the regular season Saturday when they host Butler. Marquette will then play in the Big East Championship Semifinals Nov. 8 at Valley Fields.

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