Wetherell’s on-field performance goes beyond ‘Bug’ reputation

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Wetherell’s on-field performance goes beyond ‘Bug’ reputation

Photo by Kate Holstein

Photo by Kate Holstein

Photo by Kate Holstein

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Women’s soccer freshman Katrina Wetherell still embraces the nickname her family gave her when she was little.

“When I was younger, I used to cuddle a lot, so my family called me ‘Cuddlebug,’” Wetherell said. “And then it just stuck.”

While her personality fits the “Bug” nickname, her role on the field has required a much larger presence from the 5-foot-8 freshman.

“She’s been great for us,” head coach Markus Roeders said. “She’s getting better all the time. She’s starting to feel what it’s like to excel at the highest level in college.”

Wetherell started every match and averaged 76 minutes per match this season. The only other underclassman to average more than 62 minutes was freshman Madison Burrier, who averaged 67 minutes per match.

“Just having played the BIG EAST matches that we’ve played so far, I would argue that (Wetherell’s) probably the best freshman that’s out there right now,” Roeders said. “She’s got an understanding of the game and a skill level being able to distribute the ball.”

And with the graduation of midfielders Caroline Fink and Eli Beard, Wetherell had the perfect opportunity to take a spot in the starting lineup.

“Based on what we had in the midfield and what we’re looking for, she brought that element that maybe we lost a little bit from last year with Eli Beard and Caroline Fink in there,” Roeders said. “She has an overall work rate of somebody who has great vision. I’m just happy she’s been able to fulfill that.”

That vision is coupled with a team-centric focus. When Wetherell scored her first career goal in Marquette’s 3-2 loss to Villanova, she acknowledged the feat but quickly pivoted to the team’s lack of a result.

“It was a great feeling having (my first career goal) happen,” Wetherell said. “It was just unfortunate that it happened at such a late time in the game. Nothing happened from it.”

Throughout the season, Wetherell struggled to find the back of the net. She attempted 27 shots this season but only has one goal to show for it. Twelve of the 27 shots were on goal.

Sophomore Kylie Sprecher, who started in 15 matches in 2017 as a freshman, gave Wetherell advice on overcoming the early lack of production.

“I can relate because the same thing happened to me last year,” Sprecher said. “You’re kind of just thrown into it, so I kept telling her, ‘Be confident. You’re out there for a reason. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Our team needs you, and our coaches believe in you.’”

Sprecher said she started mentoring Wetherell in the summer when Wetherell, Sprecher and redshirt junior Bri Jaeger lived together, but the relationship did not start as Sprecher imagined.

“I tried so hard to get to know her, but she just wouldn’t reciprocate it,” Sprecher said. “I remember going to (assistant coach Ashley Bares) and saying, ‘I don’t know what to do. She won’t talk. I don’t know if she’s so uncomfortable.’ She said, ‘Just give her time. She’s going to open up.’”

And Wetherell did open up.

“She might come across a little bit quiet, but at the end of the day, she’s really funny, and she has a great sense of humor,” Roeders said. “She has a great personality.”

Their relationship blossomed since then. While Sprecher was on the sidelines with sesamoiditis, she closely watched and critiqued Wetherell’s play.

“Bug and I are very close,” Sprecher said. “When she was first starting, I wasn’t playing, so it was easier for me to see what she was doing on the field.”

Luckily for the team “Bug” isn’t going away anytime soon.

“I asked her, ‘Is ‘Bug’ still in?’” Roeders said. “Sometimes players want to turn the page. She said, ‘Yep, Bug it is.’”

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