Marquette Wire

Women’s soccer found their offense this weekend

Meegan+Johnston+scored+two+goals+against+CSUN+Sunday.
Meegan Johnston scored two goals against CSUN Sunday.

Meegan Johnston scored two goals against CSUN Sunday.

Photo by Mike Carpenter

Photo by Mike Carpenter

Meegan Johnston scored two goals against CSUN Sunday.

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It took nearly all of non-conference play, but Marquette women’s soccer found their offense.

The Golden Eagles entered this past weekend’s Marquette Invitational having scored just seven times in eight games. Over the weekend they scored six goals in two games.

“Obviously prior to this weekend we hadn’t scored that much,” head coach Markus Roeders said. “This weekend we got six so that shows a little bit of just us putting in the work and now we’re getting rewarded in the game.”

Molly Pfeiffer got the scoring started Friday night with a header from a Leah Celarek corner kick. The goal came 18 minutes into the game.

Just 15 minutes later, Erin Holland scored her first goal of the season. She finished a sequence started by a Meegan Johnston free kick to Morgan Proffitt, who headed the ball to Holland.

This was the first time all season Marquette scored twice in the first half. They waited until the 84th minute to score the third.

Carrie Madden also knocked in her first goal of the season on Friday. She scored on a rebound from a Molly Pfeiffer shot, which started with a long Liz Bartels dribble down the center of the field.

The sudden goal scoring wasn’t an accident.

“Basically everything we did this week (in practice) was offensive minded,” Pfeiffer said.

Roeders’ emphasis on attack sparked a season high seven shots on goal.

Madden’s goal represents the type of offense the team has hoped to generate all season – an open, free flowing attack led by Bartels and aided by the forwards.

“(We’re) trying to create, trying to make more plays off the ball versus relying on set plays to score, so to get one in the run of play was also really, really good,” Pfeiffer said.

The detail Pfeiffer provided about set pieces is key. Teams who rely on set piece goals tend to have wildly inconsistent offenses, but the ability to score goals in open play is the sign of a potent attack.

This was apparent on Sunday when Marquette jumped out to an early 2-0 lead via two open play goals against a CSUN team, which had only allowed two goals all season.

Meegan Johnston scored twice, once from a dangerous cross the goalie was unable to stop as it floated toward the net and another on a powerful header from 16 yards out.

The Golden Eagles held possession in the CSUN defensive zone for most of the first 15 minutes and they were rewarded with Johnston’s second goal.

Though it was a miraculous header, the build up once again embodied the goals of the Marquette attack. Quick passing between Emily Hess and Proffitt freed the latter to tee up a perfect cross for Johnston. Just 15 minutes into the contest it looked like Marquette had put it away.

“After Northwestern we looked at a lot of offensive attacking film and just worked on a lot of combinations in practice,” Proffitt said.

The numbers supported the feeling of hard work paying off.

Of the seven goals Marquette scored before this weekend, five came from set pieces.

Of the six scored this past weekend, half came from open play.

“Scoring off the run of play is just that much better, because obviously we’ve done the set play stuff before,” Madden said.

Nearly one third of the Golden Eagles’ shots on goal this season came in their last two games.

“Offense in general is tricky,” Roeders said. “I thought we did some really good things offensively, like just build up wise.”

The offense has materialized at a convenient time. Marquette’s next game is their first game of BIG EAST play, where the margin for error is much smaller.

The final piece of the offensive puzzle is Darian Powell. The senior led the team with seven goals each of the past two seasons, but her minutes have been limited this season while she recovers from an injury.

She’s scored twice this season despite the limited minutes. Her second goal was the game winner on Sunday.

“It’s great having her back,” Proffitt said. “She always shows that composure in front of the goal. So it was great to get that in the final minutes of the game.”

If Roeders can add a full strength Powell to this suddenly dangerous offense, Marquette could boast one of the best attacks in the BIG EAST.

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