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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Yass returns home and makes impact

Photo by Claire Gallagher
Natalie Yass took two shots on goal in Marquette’s 2-1 loss to Providence Oct. 3.

It wasn’t until late in the transfer process that Natalie Yass decided she wanted a change. 

“I just wanted something different. We had two losing seasons at (Northern Illinois University) and a coaching change,” Yass said. “It just wasn’t the right fit for me anymore.” 

Now Yass is finding that right fit with head coach Markus Roeders and the Golden Eagles.

Yass graduated from NIU in three years with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and decided her fourth year of eligibility would be spent elsewhere. 

“I wanted to find somewhere that I would be able to have fun and a place with a different energy,” Yass said.

Growing up in the nearby town of Waukesha, the graduate student midfielder was familiar with the Marquette program after playing club soccer with SC Waukesha alongside junior forward Kylie Sprecher and under MU assistant coach Nick Vorberg.

“It is fun to be back in Milwaukee. I did a lot of camps here during high school,” Yass said. 

Along with her relationships with Vorberg and Sprecher, her connection with Roeders during the transfer process played an impact on her decision. 

“When I was talking with all the coaches that were looking at me, he was a coach who really showed an interest from the start and genuinely cared about me if I chose to come to Marquette or somewhere else,” Yass said. “He wanted me to find that different fit I was looking for amongst other things.” 

Coming into the season, the Golden Eagles only had three seniors on the team: goalkeeper Maddy Henry and defenders Emily Hess and Bri Jaeger. 

“She has been a great addition,” Roeders said. “She adds a little bit more of that defending mentality while also having that attacking mindset to help us create scoring opportunities. She adds another experienced player to our group.”

Yass is playing the role of the mentor in a young group of midfielders. In Marquette’s 3-1 win over Villanova Sunday, she started alongside two sophomores and two juniors.

“(I’m) just trying to show how to set the tone early on in the games,” Yass said. 

Among the midfielders, they have a saying that was emphasized by Brian Cain, a mental performance coach here at Marquette. 

“He instilled this mindset attitude in us that whenever someone makes a mistake we are there saying, ‘next play,’” Yass said.

Another thing that complemented her decision to put on the blue and gold was the style of player that Roeders utilizes in the lineup.

“(NIU) was more of a kick and go style of play,” Yass said. “Here, it is more about possession which is really nice since that is what I grew up playing in.” 

Throughout his 23-year tenure, Roeders said he has had some top of the line players who showed consistency day in and day out. He includes Yass in that group. 

“She is one of those players who are the most consistent every day,” Roeders said. “She plays within herself and is a great team player.”

Though many newcomers may struggle with forming new teammate bonds, that was not the case for Yass. 

“Honestly, I thought it would be harder than what it was because I am a senior coming into a team that has been together forever,” Yass said. “They took me right in and have been very welcoming.”

Fitting right in with the team allowed the midfielder to make an immediate impact.

Early on, Yass started four of five matches and recorded two goals, but then she went through a stint off the bench from Sept. 1 to Sept. 15. Ironically, her return to starter came against NIU Sept. 20, her former squad. She has started ever since that game.

That reserve role wasn’t easy for the 5-foot-4 midfielder.

“(It was) a bit frustrating not getting the playing time that (I) thought I deserved to be honest,” Yass said. “But it was just about trusting the process and knowing that maybe Markus (Roeders) might have seen something that I didn’t.”

After graduation, Yass hopes to continue her studies to become a trauma doctor, but for now, she has the rest of the BIG EAST regular season on her mind.

“I want to win the BIG EAST or at least finish high,” Yass said. “I would love to score again. This is my last season so I don’t want to hold anything back.”

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