Women’s soccer looks to create separation against Friars

Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu
Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

The Marquette women’s soccer team will look to get its first road victory of the Big East season when it travels to Providence to battle the Friars Saturday.

The Golden Eagles (8-7-2, 4-2-1) look to gain some momentum heading into the Big East tournament after a devastating extra time loss to DePaul on Senior Night. But, nearly defeating the then-No. 12 team in the nation gives the team a stepping-stone heading into its match against the Friars.

Much like the Golden Eagles, the Friars (8-6-2, 4-3-0) are also playing solid soccer. Providence defeated St. John’s 1-0 in its last match, extending the team’s winning streak to three games. The Friars have not lost yet at home in Big East play and will give Marquette a tough test, despite the similar records.

Coach Markus Roeders said even though the team is still searching for its first road victory, it’s not worried about going on the road.

“Being on the road is always more difficult,” Roeders said. “We’ve been on the road before now, so I don’t think there’s any surprises.”

Fueling the Friar offense is junior forward Catherine Zimmerman. Zimmerman is tied for second in the Big East with 25 points on the season and tied for first with 10 goals. During the current winning streak, Zimmerman scored all five goals for the Friars. For the Golden Eagles to win, they will have to shut down Zimmerman.

Roeders said that while the Friars have not scored many goals this year, Zimmerman is exceptional for the team.

“Zimmerman is a very potent offensive player,” Roeders said. “She’s definitely somebody that has done well for them.”

The last time Marquette faced a powerhouse like Zimmerman was when the squad played Georgetown to face Daphne Corboz, and Corboz notched three assists. Against DePaul, the Golden Eagles did a better job of stopping the powerful DePaul offense, but still allowed six combined points from the Blue Demon’s three top scorers. If the Golden Eagles can continue to slow the opponent’s production, the team should be able to limit its goals allowed.

As for the Golden Eagles, Friar keeper Kristyn Shea presents a familiar but tough challenge in net. Shea sits atop the Big East standings in goals against average (0.93) and third in save percentage (.808). When Seton Hall came to Valley Fields, its keeper Illissa Blackshear sported similar numbers. But the Golden Eagles gutted her for three goals, nearly a quarter of the goals she allowed in the Big East before the match. If Marquette continues to get crosses into the box and crash the net, leading scorer and senior midfielder Mary Luba and company should not have a problem putting balls in the net.

Roeders said he believes the team should have no problem getting chances against Shea.

“I’m optimistic that by the end of the week we’re going to be in pretty good shape,” Roeders said. “We just got to go out there and put 90 minutes together.”

Recording three points against Providence would give the Golden Eagles some much needed separation from the rest of the Big East and help them inch closer to the top of the conference standings. Kickoff between the squads is Saturday at 6 p.m.

Roeders said the final stretch of the Big East schedule is putting the team in the best position to make it to the Big East playoffs.

“They’re not too far behind us in the standings,” Roeders said. “We can really create some separation as long as we get the result that we’re hoping for.”