Emily Hess discovers home at left back

Senior+defender+Emily+Hess+dribbles+the+ball+in+Marquette%27s+2-1+loss+to+Providence+Oct.+3.

Photo by Claire Gallagher

Senior defender Emily Hess dribbles the ball in Marquette’s 2-1 loss to Providence Oct. 3.

When Marquette women’s soccer head coach Markus Roeders thinks of senior defender Emily Hess, he describes her as humble, extremely hardworking, focused and a borderline perfectionist.  

Hess’ journey to the defensive line wasn’t easy. In fact, just two years before she joined the Golden Eagles, she never played the position before. 

Hess’ club soccer coach at Eclipse Select moved her from a forward to a defender.

“When he changed me to outside back, I was unsure about it because I never played a lot of defense before,” Hess said. “I had only played offense.”

Six years later, Hess has called that position her home for the Golden Eagles.

In fact, in her four seasons wearing the blue and gold, Hess has started all but nine games at outside back and more specifically left back.

“I love the role of outside back altogether. I love being on the side and getting up and down the plank. I really enjoy joining the attack from the backside since I can see the whole field in front of me,” Hess said. “I am able to play higher defense, cut off some passes and then go into the attack.” 

The Batavia, Illinois, native said from her first visit, Roeders has been there for her. She said he is the reason why she has been able to make an impact for MU. 

“He was very comforting and knew what entails during that transition from high school to college soccer,” Hess said. “It was nice that I was able to rely on him and use him in that process. He is very reassuring, upbeat, friendly about everything.” 

The senior defender gets to contribute both offensively and defensively as a left back, but Roeders also uses the 5-foot-4 defender in two other significant roles for the team: an offensive player in the attack and the one taking corner kicks. He said he credits her prior experience for her versatility.

“She has learned over time that she just doesn’t (only) have the abilities to do stuff on the defensive side. She has that attacking personality and wants to go forward,” Roeders said.

Hess said she sees her different roles as opportunities for development. 

“I am trying to do something different, something new to keep my game progressing whether it be something offensively or defensively,” Hess said. 

Throughout Roeders’ 23 years at the helm of the Golden Eagles, he said some great cornerstone players have made their marks on the program, and he considers Hess a part of that group. 

“(She) plays within herself, always has that feeling she is going to give you everything she has,” Roeders said. “She has only gotten better with progressing her role and position within the team. (She’s) extremely valuable and lucky to have.” 

As it has been through the entire season, the back line has been the strength of the team so far, especially with the senior leadership from goalkeeper Maddy Henry, graduate student defender Bri Jaeger and Hess.

Hess, exercise physiology major said the reason these three have been so successful is because each of them has been able to learn from each other in practices and in games. 

“I like to think they take stuff from my experiences, but I can also take stuff from their experiences,” Hess said. 

Despite the Golden Eagles losing their first two BIG EAST games, Hess still said she believes this team can get back into the BIG EAST Tournament for the first time since 2017. 

For sure, I do. I think playing Georgetown first gave us a good experience since it showed us what it will take,” Hess said. “Going forward, we have a good foundation. I am very confident in our team.” 

Roeders said he sees hunger inside Henry, Jaeger and Hess during practices and games and will be relying on them for the rest of the season. 

“They realize they have one last run at it. They are all trying to do it on both ends of the field,” Roeders said. “During this stretch of BIG EAST games, as a team and a staff, we can rely on them because they have battled these teams before and know what it takes (both at) home and away. They will continue to do their part for us to be successful.”