Women’s clinches Top-4 seed with win against Friars

Photo+by+Valeria+Cardenas%2Fvaleria.cardenas%40marquette.edu

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

The Marquette women’s soccer team got its first road victory of the Big East season with its 4-0 win against Providence, clinching a top-4 seed in the conference tournament in the process.

Coach Markus Roeders said it was very important to get the road victory.

“It was a great road win and goal that we accomplished tonight,” Roeders told GoMarquette.com. “We wanted to wrap up at least a top four finish and a guaranteed home match unless we can slide up even higher in the Big East standings.”

Marquette traveled to Providence on a full week’s rest, as the match against the Friars was the team’s only game of the week. The Golden Eagles took advantage of the time off by getting pressure on the Providence back line early. Chances by senior midfielder Alex Heffron and sophomore forward Darian Powell within the first 15 minutes of the game nearly put Marquette on the board, but couldn’t put one home. 

The scoreless start would not last long, as six minutes later, Heffron kickstarted one of the best stretches of the season for the Golden Eagles.

In the 23rd minute, Powell sent Heffron a pass in the box, and Heffron buried it, putting Marquette up 1-0. Less than a minute later, Heffron notched her second goal of the game as she carried the ball into the middle of the box and put a laser on net, beating Friar keeper Kristyn Shea once again.

Even with the commanding 2-0 lead, Marquette refused to coast. Powell registered her third goal in as many games in the 32nd minute. Powell caught a cross from sophomore midfielder Liz Bartels and booted it home, adding to the Golden Eagle lead.

In the 44th minute, it was sophomore midfielder Ashley Handwork’s turn to cash in. Junior defender Jacie Jermier sent a cross off a corner kick into the box, and Handwork headed the ball into the net for the late goal. Four goals tied the season record for most scores in a single half for the Golden Eagles. Their four goals in 22:20 was the second fastest four-goal stretch for the Golden Eagles, just a minute and two seconds shy of when Marquette scored four goals in 21:18 against UW-Milwaukee.

Roeders said it was great to see Heffron and Handwork back on the scoresheet.

“Our first half was good and we executed our chances well,” Roeders told GoMarquette.com. “(I’m) very happy that Alex Heffron got a couple goals and that Ashley Handwork is back in the mix.”

Providence relieved Shea in net with Megan Sweeney at the start of the second half. Prior to the game, Shea was first in the Big East in goals against average and third in save percentage.

While neither side scored in the second half, the Golden Eagles were able to get some inexperienced players some precious playing time, as well as continue to give keeper Sofie Schunk playing time to stay loose. Perhaps the best feat for the Golden Eagles was keeping Providence’s leading scorer, Catherine Zimmerman, off the stat sheet.

Roeders said he was happy with his defense against the Friars.

“We knew Providence is a good team and they have a special goal scorer in Zimmerman,” Roeders told GoMarquette.com. “Our defense and goalies did a nice job keeping them off the scoreboard.”

When the final buzzer sounded, Marquette clinched a top-4 spot in the Big East tournament, which guarantees Marquette at least one tournament game at Valley Fields. The Golden Eagles also created some much-needed separation from the No. 5 team in the conference, which is coincidently Providence.

Marquette has another light week, as it plays its last game of the regular season Friday at Butler. The season finale kickoff is at 3 p.m.