Freshman Emily Hess quickly carves out role

Heir to Jacie Jermier was involved in three of MU's four goals this weekend

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Freshman Emily Hess quickly carves out role

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

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Jacie Jermier completed her Marquette soccer career in the fall of 2015 as one of the most accomplished players in the program’s recent memory. She was named to the All-BIG EAST first and second teams once each, scored 24 points in 61 career games and was nominated for the Senior CLASS Award, one of the highest honors in college athletics.

The McFarland, Wisconsin, native started every single game of her junior and senior year, primarily playing the left back and left wingback positions. It takes time to develop trust amongst teammates, especially in a position that requires a balance between flying up the field and staying put defensively, meaning Jermier’s departure was sure to hit hard.

The hole left in the lineup by Jermier was occupied by sophomore defender/midfielder Leah Celarek in the season opener at Nebraska. However, Celarek wasn’t just handed the job. Freshman Emily Hess was given a chance to earn playing time as well. This isn’t the first time she’s been in a position battle.

“I’ve actually done that before with my club team,” Hess said. “I came from a different team and I had to do the exact same thing. You know, work to get my spot and you really have to play hard to be able to start. So I just went in with the same mindset coming into Marquette.”

A key to winning a position battle is showing what you can do that nobody else can. Head coach Markus Roeders said Hess offers more defensively than the alternatives might.

“She’s a natural left back,” Roeders said after the Kansas game.

He also said last week that she still had to grow into her role.

“You shouldn’t expect too much, that she’s going to go out there now and play 90 minutes every game,” Roeders said.

In the two games that followed that statement, Emily Hess played all 180 minutes.

She made her first career start last Thursday at Illinois State, where she scored directly from a corner kick just five minutes in. The Batavia, Illinois native was active on both ends of the field, justifying her position in the starting lineup.

She made her second career start on Sunday, appearing in her first ever home game for Marquette.

“It’s all new but it’s so much fun,” Hess said. “I really enjoyed that so many people came out to watch.”

Her home debut was a memorable one. She drew a penalty in the 51st minute that allowed Morgan Proffitt to score the equalizer. Just 17 minutes later Hess drew another foul in a dangerous position outside the box. This time, she took the kick herself. She curled the ball into the box, away from the goalkeeper, setting up Molly Pfeiffer to head it home for the game-winning goal.

Her performance earned her the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week award and prompted high praise from captain and U.S. U-23 national team player Morgan Proffitt.

“She’s a very composed player,” Proffitt said. “I love her out there. She kind of reminds me of Jacie (Jermier). You know taking ‘em down, one v. one.”

There it was, the first of many comparisons that are sure to be made between Hess and her predecessor.

It’s a thought that anyone who watched Jermier’s work down the left flank over the last two years had to be thinking while watching Hess.

She kind of reminds me of Jacie.”

The most obvious similarity between Jermier and Hess is the manner in which their teammates work to get them the ball. Any time the attack came down the left side, it was clear the midfielders and forwards wanted to get the ball to the freshman.

Hess beamed during her interview, especially when she was asked about the trust her new teammates have placed in her.

“It’s amazing. (Proffitt)’s amazing. Everyone’s amazing. … It’s just so much fun to play with such great players and I’m honored to be able to play with them,” Hess said.

There’s no guarantee that Hess will continue to start, but she’s determined to keep her new job.

“It’s so much fun just to be able to have that opportunity and every time I get one of those, I just got to make the most of it.”

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