The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Women’s soccer shuts out Western Michigan in non-conference finale

Photo by Alex DeBuhr
Maggie Starker (left) fights for the ball in Marquette women’s soccer’s 2-0 win over Western Michigan Sept. 15 at Valley Fields.

Marquette shut out Western Michigan, 2-0, Thursday night at Valley Fields with some familiar ingredients.

Early scoring plus another elite defensive performance from the backline mixed up to be the correct recipe for victory in the Golden Eagles’ non-conference finale.

“I’m ecstatic,” Marquette head coach Frank Pelaez said. “After being on the road it’s always a blessing to be here at Valley Fields. The girls feel it, there’s an energy in the locker room and they can’t wait to get outside.

“Credit to Western Michigan. Those kids are just tough, they’ve never stopped. They had us pinned down a couple of times but I think we’re just a little bit better at the finishing part.”

It did not take long for Marquette’s offense to show a presence.

Four minutes into the match, forward Maggie Starker tapped in a pass from Elsi Twombly to give Marquette an early 1-0 lead. Senior midfielder Alex Campana was also credited with the assist.

“Elsi did all the work for me,” Starker said. “I was kind of just in the right spot at the right time and just tapped it in a little bit. She took it wide and played a really good ball across the middle.”

Then minutes before halftime, Kate Gibson doubled the Golden Eagles lead as the forward’s shot bounced off the left goal post into the net. It was Gibson’s second goal of the season.

It was the second time this season the Golden Eagles had scored two goals in the first half.

Starker said with Marquette getting two early goals in the match, it “takes the pressure off” the offense “a little bit.”

“We knew we were up one so we can just defend a lot,” Starker said. “We didn’t stop, obviously we scored another one pretty quick but it kind of puts us in front of them right away and helps us with the mindset to have one on the board so we can calm down a little bit.”

The Golden Eagles had opportunities in the second half to add to its lead but all were stopped by Broncos’ goalkeeper Hannah Sargent.

But Marquette’s defense once again made an impact.

Including tonight, the Golden Eagles have held their opponents to just two goals across four home games this season.

“We try to play team defense overall,” Pelaez said. “We play a lot of different people in different areas during during our practices so that if something does come up, we’re able to slide people in and out. The defense is strong.”

Western Michigan was limited to three shots in the second half after recording seven in the first. It is the second clean sheet of the season for the Golden Eagles.

“It’s only natural to try to play a little more defensive when you’re up 2-0 because that’s a scary score. But I’m kind of the opposite, I want to just keep attacking,” Pelaez said. “Because the mindset of somebody is if you play defense then you never are going to attack.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Chloe Olson earned her fourth consecutive start in net but was relieved by senior Mikki Easter in the second half. Olson finished with one save on seven shots while Easter faced three shots in her return to action from injury.

“I (have) said before, we got two goalkeepers that are very strong,” Pelaez said. “Today, I kind of split them because I thought it was only fair. We had a good conversation beforehand and they are such great teammates to each other.”

Going back to three years ago, Thursday’s contest marked the first time that senior midfielder Rachel Johnson did not appear in the starting XI. Johnston sustained an injury in the team’s practice Wednesday.

Pelaez said the timetable of Johnson’s injury is unknown as she is set to meet with doctors tomorrow.

The Golden Eagles (4-3-1) begin Big East competition a week from tonight in Chicago against DePaul Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. CST.

“This year is a lot different in many ways and I think it took us a little bit to like find ourselves but I think we’re in a good spot now and it will look good with the conference schedule,” Starker said.

This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *