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Three Amigas: Women’s soccer seniors take charge

Jacie+Jermier+%28left%29%2C+Amanda+Engel+%28center%29+and+Ann+Marie+Lynch+%28right%29+are+the+senior+leaders+for+women%27s+soccer.+Photo+by+Maggie+Bean%2FMarquette+Athletics
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Three Amigas: Women’s soccer seniors take charge

Jacie Jermier (left), Amanda Engel (center) and Ann Marie Lynch (right) are the senior leaders for women's soccer. Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Jacie Jermier (left), Amanda Engel (center) and Ann Marie Lynch (right) are the senior leaders for women's soccer. Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean

Jacie Jermier (left), Amanda Engel (center) and Ann Marie Lynch (right) are the senior leaders for women's soccer. Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Jacie Jermier (left), Amanda Engel (center) and Ann Marie Lynch (right) are the senior leaders for women's soccer. Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics

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As the sun begins to set behind Miller Park to the west, a sea of gold breaks down 16th Street from across the Menomonee River toward Marquette’s campus.

The women’s soccer team, made up of about 30 members, has just finished practice at Valley Fields, and they’re taking their cool-down jog back to the old gymnasium.

At the back of the pack, talking to the younger players and keeping everyone in sight, are Jacie Jermier, Ann Marie Lynch and Amanda Engel – the only three seniors on the roster.

Each year, a group of seniors comes to preseason charged with the task of providing leadership while maintaining their best on-field performance. After the coaching staff, they are given the responsibility to set the tone not only for each game, but for the entire season.

Those duties include guiding the underclassmen, who make up three-fourths of the team.

“I kind of forget sometimes that they’re so young and that they don’t know the things that we know,” said Lynch, a midfielder from Arlington Heights, Illinois. “Even just little details in the game like how to mark someone … you need to tell them those things. It’s becoming even more of a role now (as we get further into the season) to make sure that we’re communicating with those younger people.”

They make a point of keeping the freshmen in check both in games and at practice. Carrying the balls and getting water are the quintessential freshman roles at practice. In games, the advice becomes more serious: fronting the thrower on a throw-in or urging players to get more physical are the main points of emphasis.

“We don’t have drama,” said Jermier, a midfielder from McFarland, Wisconsin. “But if something were to happen on the field, I’d definitely get chirpy out there.”

Engel agreed, noting that the off-field drama never carries into the locker room.

“We’ve seen what works in the past, and we’ve had teams here that we’ve been a part of that weren’t like this,” Jermier said. “I think we, as seniors, have learned what works and how the team needs to function to be successful.”

Getting to that point wasn’t easy for the seniors. A broken foot and a torn ACL forced Jermier to redshirt her first two seasons. Lynch had to fight for playing time, finally securing her starting role last year. Engel, the fourth-year starting keeper from Centennial, Colorado, has had to survive the pressures of goaltending in the high-powered BIG EAST conference.

After back-to-back 18-win seasons and six straight NCAA tournament appearances, the team struggled to a 10-8-3 record last year. The seniors took it upon themselves to right the ship this season.

“I think in their own minds they want to erase some of the steps backwards that we took with our program last year,” said head coach Markus Roeders. “These girls are very positive but at the same time are very motivated and driven. They want to be successful.”

Having just three seniors isn’t normal for any team – Marquette had eight on its rosters in 2013 and 2014 – but the small class leads to a tight-knit group. Engel and Lynch have been roommates since freshman year. The three get together often to eat ice cream, watch romantic comedies and explore Milwaukee. That relationship comes into play on and off the field.

“I love the dynamic that we have,” Lynch said. “It’s nice having the three of us to trade thoughts and ideas that don’t conflict. It’s very easy to talk to each other to know what we need to do and go out and do it.”

Now more than ever, the senior ladies need to use their communication to rally the troops. The team has stumbled out of the gate, going 2-3 to open the season. Not only do they have to stay vocal to encourage their young teammates, but they need to channel the mentality that’s brought them two BIG EAST championships.

“We kind of have to build around them with the rest of our squad,” Roeders said of his seniors. “At the end of the day you want to see them to the extent of coaches, and I think they bring that to the table. They have a great voice within the team, and they interact with us in a way that you want senior leaders to act and communicate.”

In the sprint toward the postseason, their leadership will be pivotal to carry the Golden Eagles. The cool-down jog can wait until after championship season.

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