Redshirt first-year goalkeeper ‘trusts the process’ with team

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Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Redshirt first-year goalkeeper Mikki Easter is in her first season as the women’s soccer starting goalkeeper.

The message inside the Marquette women’s soccer goalkeeper unit is simple: Do simple, do great.

“When they do make a big save or that upper 90 save(top corners of the net), that’s awesome but every save is important,” Marquette women’s soccer assistant coach Erin Scott said. “I told them from the very beginning of season I wanted to go into things thinking that the most important save is the save you’re currently making, because if you don’t do the simple well then the goal is a goal at the end of the day on the scoreboard.”

Redshirt first-year goalkeeper Mikki Easter, who is in her first season as the Golden Eagles’ starting goalkeeper, said she takes this phrase to heart each time she is in the net.

“You can’t make the upper 90 save if you let in a goal that was between your feet, so a simple scoop could be as important as the upper 90 that looks amazing,” Easter said. “So just keeping everything clean that should be clean and then pulling out the upper 90 save when you need to.”

Easter’s path to the starting goalkeeper spot hasn’t been a straight one.

In her true first-year season in 2019, Easter was behind the program’s all-time saves leader in Maddy Henry. This gave her the opportunity to take a redshirt year.

Then last season, in a condensed season, she saw time in five of the team’s 10 games as she split time with redshirt first-year goalie Lauren Schill.

Scott said one of Easter’s best qualities that has helped her to be in the position she is now is her work ethic.

“She has a very good mentality and approach toward goalkeeping. It’s a very hard position mentally because you can get really hung up on the one thing that went wrong rather than the 10 things that went right,” Scott said. “But I think Mikki does a good job of that and pushing those around her.”

With three goalkeepers on the team — Easter, Chloe Olson and Lauren Schill — Scott, a former Division I goalkeeper herself, said since she arrived to Milwaukee in January 2020 she has coached the unit the same.

“We wouldn’t be as good as our weakest link because in trainings that comes down to the service, it comes down to details,” Scott said. “They all have such high standards, not only for themselves but each other. Mikki knows she has two very skilled goalkeepers that push her to be her best every single day and that she wouldn’t be able to do everything she’s able to do without the entire ground around us. And that’s what makes trainings fun, it’s supposed to be enjoyable as well.”

Easter said Scott’s approach with the unit brings out the best among herself and the other keepers.

“She is always looking for each one of us to up the intensity and bring a high-level of training every single day that we go out there,” Easter said. “She is the one who strives to push us to be the best we can be and I feel that is the reason why we have such a strong unit.” 

Easter said there is one big lesson she has learned from Scott that has stuck with her thus far.

“She really stresses the fact that each save that we make, the one that we’re making in that moment is the most important save that we’re ever going to make,” Easter said. “Just focusing on doing the simple things great and having the next save be the most important save of your career so that you can focus on the next one after that.”

Unlike previous years, last season’s competition for fall sports took place in the spring due to COVID-19. With the season happening closer to the summer, players went right into playing with summer teams before returning to campus in August to gear up for a new year of competition.

Scott said with Easter continuously playing, it allowed her to stay active and in the right mindset heading into this season to compete for the starting goalkeeper position.

“It was the first time anyone ever had to go from playing pretty intense spring season to then going and training with summer teams and then coming back for full fall,” Scott said. “Goalkeeping is something that if you don’t kind of practice at least a little every single day, then you take a couple steps back. But I think that getting those touches on the ball is really important for her and helped her set her up to be able to be successful.”

Through 15 games this season, Easter has compiled a record of 8-8 and a save percentage of .729.

Additionally, Easter has five clean sheets on the season, which Scott said is impressive by itself.

“At the end of the day, I would love a clean sheet but essentially it’s winning and we’re doing that and we’re also getting clean sheets,” Scott said. “When she’s doing her job and doing simple great then it pays off. When she has to be called upon to make that big save, I think being able to establish that camaraderie and trust with her backline and with the rest of her teammates, it’s always important to be able to be successful in those moments.”

This article was written by Matthew Valente. He can be reached at matthew.valente@marquette.edu.