Women’s soccer draws with Illinois State despite strong underclassman performances


Photo by Olivia Qualls

Goalkeeper Maddy Henry set a career saves mark in a scoreless draw against Illinois State.

After 93 minutes of scoreless soccer, forward Jamie Kutey had a beautiful cross to teammate Kylie Sprecher, who was positioned about 10 yards out from the goal. The freshman from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, booted it with her right foot towards the goal.

At first glance, it looked as though it hit the inside of the crossbar to break a scoreless tie. It was a few inches too high.

“I made solid contact on it,” Sprecher said. “Some people were saying they thought it went under the crossbar, but it hit the crossbar pretty hard and bounced back out, so that was unfortunate.”

Instead of extending its winning streak to eight games on a heroic Sprecher shot, the 19th-ranked Golden Eagles tied the unranked Illinois State Redbirds, 0-0, Thursday night at Valley Fields.

Aside from Sprecher’s close call in the 94th minute, Marquette could not finish many opportunities in the attacking third. The Redbirds finished the night with a 26-16 advantage in shots and 16-6 advantage in shots on goal.

“As a team we’re doing a really good job creating those type of situations,” Sprecher said. “We just need to together, and myself included, have more urgency in finishing and getting those goals.”

Sprecher was one of the few bright spots for Marquette’s offense. The freshman had six shots, including three shots on goal.

Defensively, sophomore goalkeeper Maddy Henry kept Illinois State off the scoreboard with a career-high 15 saves. It was the most saves for any Marquette goalkeeper in a game since 2001.

Roeders’ squad was without two key players; redshirt junior Carrie Madden and junior Leah Celarek. Madden led the Golden Eagles in most statistical categories last year and had a share of the lead in points before injuring her quad against Mercer.

“Not only would she have a couple good looks, but I think she would’ve also created something for somebody else,” Roeders said. “Not having those players to an extent is hurting us a little bit.”

Marquette will look to extend its winning streak Sunday as they travel 10 minutes north to face University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Panthers have proven to be a surprisingly difficult foe recently; Marquette has not won a match against UWM since 2013.

“It’s going to be insanely scrappy,” Henry said. “Obviously it’s a huge rival team for us and we want to go out there and show them who we are and kick their butts.”

In the meantime, the team will have to dwell on its first non-win against an unranked opponent since last year’s NCAA tournament.

“I don’t think anybody on our side is happy with the result,” Roeders said. “We didn’t lose, but in some ways it still felt like a loss.”