Marquette Wire

Bugay serves as ‘nuts and bolts’ of women’s soccer

Ryley+Bugay+has+played+every+match+in+Marquette%27s+midfield+this+year.
Ryley Bugay has played every match in Marquette's midfield this year.

Ryley Bugay has played every match in Marquette's midfield this year.

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Ryley Bugay has played every match in Marquette's midfield this year.

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Redshirt junior midfielder Ryley Bugay quickly earned the nickname of Ry Boo Boo.

“With Markus (Roeders), you never know. Nicknames can change every day, or it can stick for four years,” former Marquette star Morgan Proffitt said. “And he kind of goes on his rants when he gets excited a player doing something like, ‘Oh, Ry Boo Boo!”

Bugay’s grittiness and leadership on the pitch, however, required an amendment to that name.

“We called her Boo Boo — Ry Boo Boo — after a while, and then it kind of turned into Ry Boo Boo Glue,” head coach Markus Roeders said. “She’s kind of that glue for us.”

Bugay got the opportunity to step up toward the end of last year when the team needed a defensive boost. Roeders reformatted his team’s formation to allow for two defensive midfielders, which opened up space for Bugay. She earned the second spot alongside the eventual BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year Morgan Proffitt.

“We were trying to figure out a way to have more of a midfield presence, because I found myself trying to run around and do it all myself,” Proffitt said. “Putting her side-by-side at the defensive mid with me I know helped us tremendously … We started winning games and keeping possession a lot more.”

Bugay took advantage of the opportunity to start with Proffitt, learning whatever she could from the eventual National Women’s Soccer League first round pick.

“She would win tackles, so being more defensive-minded was my role,” Bugay said. “Throughout all of her four years, not just this last year, she was able to coach myself and other players around her either by simple instructions or being a leader.”

Bugay does not have the same athleticism as Proffitt, forcing her to use her intangibles to make up for any athletic shortcomings.

“(Proffitt) was able to cover ground that really nobody else could cover,” Roeders said. “(Bugay) actually has to use her smarts a little more in that regard.”

Her intelligence and sense of timing allow her to serve as the connecting piece between offensively-focused midfielders such as Caroline Fink and Eli Beard and the team’s back line.

“She’s kind of the nuts and bolts to kind of keep everything together,” Roeders said. “She’s not going to score you a ton of goals. She might provide you the occasional assist.”

Bugay’s type of success is not found in any box scores. She has one appearance on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll and has not earned a spot on an All-BIG EAST team in her career.

“She maybe didn’t get the honors or recognition that maybe she should’ve gotten,” Roeders said. “But that’s OK with her, and it’s OK with the rest of the team.”

Bugay routinely leads the team in minutes logged at practice and games, Roeders said. In a game like Marquette’s BIG EAST quarterfinals win over Xavier, Bugay likely runs nine or 10 miles and does it all with a humility that Roeders craves.

“She’s competitive, but she’s also the nicest kid and gives you everything every day,” Roeders said. “She just does it by her work rate and work ethic. She’s the star amongst the stars.”

“You wouldn’t know she’s as good as she is when you just talk to her,” Proffitt said. “Even on the field, she has a quiet presence but is definitely still a very big presence.”

Bugay’s road to success faced a couple bumps in the road, none bigger than the defensive catastrophe that occurred in the middle of this season. From Sept. 17 to Sept. 28, Marquette allowed nine goals in three losses. Four of them came in women’s soccer’s first ever loss to Villanova, a performance Roeders described as “the worst in school history.”

“Mentally we had many breakdowns that teams took advantage of,” Bugay said. “I think going forward, we just need to stay a little more mentally sharp in those areas.”

With the team losing Dunker, Fink and Beard, who have combined to appear in 211 out of a possible 246 matches in their four years, at the end of the season, Bugay will have to make another step up in 2018.

“There’ll definitely be some holes to fill, especially since they’re all right down the center, and they’re all defensive and play very big roles,” Bugay said. “But I think it will be a similar situation as when Morgan left. Other players will step up.”

While “Boo Boo Glue” does not have the athleticism that made Proffitt the 12th overall pick, Roeders could see her playing professionally, not that one could notice from talking to Bugay.

“She’s probably the most unselfish player we have. But she brings it everyday. She’s very consistent,” Roeders said.

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About the Writer
John Steppe, Executive Sports Editor

John Steppe is the executive sports editor for the Marquette Wire. He is a junior majoring in journalism and double-minoring in digital media and Spanish....

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