Marquette Wire

Women’s soccer season ends, bright future ahead

Team finishes with less than 10 wins for first time in 20 years

Photo+by+Doug+Peters%2Fdouglas.peters%40marquette.edu
Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Dan Reiner, daniel.reiner@mu.edu

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The Marquette women’s soccer season ended Tuesday in the quarterfinal round of the BIG EAST Tournament, missing the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season after a streak of six consecutive appearances. The Golden Eagles finished with a record of 8-8-4, marking the first time in head coach Markus Roeders’ 20 years at the helm his team did not win at least 10 games or finish with a winning record.

At one point, the Golden Eagles were 4-6-3, and went on a five-match point streak to gain ground in the BIG EAST and secure a spot in the conference tournament. The team’s woeful inconsistency struck again, in the regular season finale at DePaul, though, losing 2-1 in overtime, and again on Tuesday in a 1-0 defeat at Butler. At times, this team looked like an NCAA tournament contender, but more often played like a team that couldn’t quite get all the pieces together.

What went wrong:

The offensive attack got off to a hot start in August, scoring eight goals in the team’s first four games of the season. The burners dropped off after that, and the Golden Eagles barely scored over one goal in seven of their 20 games, ranking seventh in the BIG EAST with 1.40 goals per game. Redshirt sophomore forward Molly Pfeiffer, who had three goals in the first five matches, didn’t score a goal after Sept. 4. Redshirt senior Jacie Jermier, the team’s facilitator from the left back position, didn’t score a goal after Sept. 27.

Defensive miscues often bit the Golden Eagles as well. While not always reflected in the statistics, communication breakdowns and judgement errors could be blamed for important losses, including an own goal in a 1-0 loss at lowly Seton Hall and key mishaps in the DePaul loss. Those few plays might have been the difference between a first round bye in the BIG EAST Tournament and their eventual 5-seed road defeat.

What went right:

Junior forward Darian Powell solidified her place as the team’s go-to offensive weapon, scoring seven goals for the second straight season. Powell looked at home alongside fellow forward Pfeiffer and junior attacking midfielder Liz Bartels. Getting good looks at goal wasn’t the problem – the team was fourth in the conference in both shots and corner kicks – but the inability to convert on the opportunities held them back.

Senior keeper Amanda Engel wrapped up her decorated four-year career with a 1.14 goals against average and 50 career wins at Marquette. The defense, aside from those few big mistakes, mended well overall. Jermier and junior Morgan Proffitt were named to the all-BIG EAST first team, while junior Erin Holland held her own at the center back position.

Looking ahead

Marquette will lose just three seniors to graduation – Jermier, Engel and Ann Marie Lynch – but next season return nine players with one year of eligibility. Powell, Bartels and juniors Ashley Handwork and Meegan Johnston will lead the team on offense and work with now-experienced underclassmen such as Pfeiffer, Jamie Kutey, Emily Mouille and Caroline Fink. On defense, Proffitt, Holland and junior Cali Pyzdrowski will pair with the likes of Ryley Bugay and Madison Dunker.

The biggest question heading into next season is who will start as goalkeeper. For the last 11 seasons, Roeders has had three primary keepers: Laura Boyer from 2005-’07, Natalie Kulla from ’08-’11 and Engel from ’12-’15. Freshman Sloane Carlson saw action in three games, including two starts for Marquette this season, but didn’t seem comfortable in the net. Unless another star keeper currently terrorizing high school offenses is waiting to join Roeders’ team, the job is Carlson’s to lose, but she will have to make significant strides.

Expect Roeders and assistant coach Ashley Bares, as always, to book a difficult non-conference schedule to test the team early on. Next season, given the experience and ability on the current roster, the Golden Eagles should be contenders to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.

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