Powell powers women’s soccer to season opener victory

For the first 80 minutes of Marquette women’s soccer’s season opener, the Golden Eagles couldn’t capitalize on any chance they had. But a frivolous final ten minutes saw three goals, which gave Marquette a statement victory against Loyola-Chicago to start the season.

Coach Markus Roeders said the win helped the team find an identity early in the season.

“I think we learned a lot about ourselves tonight,” Roeders said. “It feels great to get a win and get a shutout.”

Sophomore Ashley Handwork notched the first goal of the season off a cross from senior Mady Vicker. Vicker handled the ball on the right side of the net, when she kicked a cross to Handwork, who netted a shot to the right side.

Redshirt freshman Darian Powell said that once the team got the first goal, they were already thinking about the second.

“Once we get one goal, we want to get another,” Powell said. “It was kind of just a team effort.”

Roeders said the goal helped Marquette finish strong.

“That, I think, kind of set the tone because I think it really deflated (Loyola-Chicago),” Roeders said.

With Handwork’s goal, Marquette opened the floodgates. The Golden Eagles controlled possession after the restart whistle, and nine minutes later, Powell took over the game.

Powell gave Marquette an insurance goal in the 89th minute off a touch pass from sophomore Liz Bartels. With Powell streaking towards the box, Bartels gave her a touch pass and Powell went in on the Rambler goaltender one-on-one. Powell kicked the ball to the right side of the net, and it bounced off the post to give Marquette a 2-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, Powell and Bartels were at it again. Bartels controlled the ball on the right end line and crossed it into the box. Powell picked up the pass and went to the left side of the net, passed the goaltender, to give Marquette its second goal in a minute and a 3-0 lead. Powell’s two goals was more than enough to secure a Marquette victory.

Powell gave credit to Bartels for setting her up for both of her goals.

“It was such a blur,” Powell said. “Thanks to my teammate (Bartels), she did all the work. I just put it in the back of the net.”

Even with there being less than a minute left in the game, Roeders said he teaches his players to play until the final whistle.

“We always talk about that as long as there’s time on the clock we’re going to try to score,” Roeders said. “I don’t think we really let up. I think it’s something that’s instilled in the team.”

However, Marquette’s high-powered finish might not have happened if it weren’t for their stellar defense. The Golden Eagles back-line only surrendered one shot on goal, but it was nearly all Loyola – Chicago needed.

The Loyola offense dribbled the ball in on a two-on-one and rocketed a shot towards the upper-90. The ball looked like it was sure to go in, but then junior goaltender Amanda Engel dove across and batted the ball away. Minutes later, Marquette was called for a foul and Loyola-Chicago had a free kick just outside the box. The Ramblers had multiple chances to knock the ball in, but the Marquette defenders got in front of every shot.

Powell said the Marquette defense was a reason for the success the team had.

“Our defense is unreal,” Powell said. “They pretty much do it all for us.”

Roeders acknowledged the defense had a stretch where the Ramblers had chances to score, but overall, the team did more than enough to win.

“I think we did enough and I think we dominated the game enough to be deserving of the result at the end,” Roeders said.

With the win, the Golden Eagles gained three points in the Marquette Invitational and its first win of the season. Marquette will play Northwestern Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at Valley Fields.