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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Golden Eagles suffer their first back-to-back losses of the season

Photo by Alex DeBuhr
Senior defender Katie Koker takes a shot on net in Marquette women’s soccer’s 2-1 loss to UConn Oct. 2 at Valley Fields.

The Marquette women’s soccer team started its Big East slate of games hotter than most on the outside imagined, especially for a team picked to finish eighth in the Big East Preseason Coaches Poll.

But a team without two of its anchors in its defensive unit— Katrina Wetherell and Rachel Johnson — was bound to run into some sort of setback.

That appeared to be the case against UConn Sunday afternoon at Valley Fields, as the Huskies handed the Golden Eagles their second straight loss, 2-1, of the weekend.

“This team came out and fought so hard. It didn’t go our way today,” Marquette head coach Frank Pelaez said. “UConn is very, very good team. Well organized and they have great attacking power. We were able to stabilize some of that in the second half and had opportunities but weren’t able to do it. It’s a tough one today, a tough pill to swallow.”

Marquette once again did not lead on the afternoon, as the Golden Eagles fell behind early for the fourth straight game.

The Huskies, who were playing their first game in Milwaukee since rejoining the conference in 2020, came out firing as junior midfielder Lucy Cappadona headed home a pass sent into the box in the fifth minute for the early 1-0 lead.

After recording just one shot in the opening 20 minutes, Marquette’s offensive attack settled in and found its rhythm as the half progressed.

“We always talk about how we want to keep moving players around on the field and getting the most out of people and playing our strengths,” Marquette assistant coach Erin Scott said. “Being able to settle down and settle into the game was really important for us to be able to put other players on and get people moving around. Because Sunday games are always (a) battle.”

The Golden Eagles found their equalizer in the 30th minute.

Following a pass and go with sophomore midfielder Julia O’Neill and senior midfielder Elizabeth Bueckers, senior defender Katie Koker beat UConn junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Mahoney from 12 yards out to tie the match right before halftime.

For Koker — who transferred back to Marquette from Minnesota this past offseason — it was her first goal as a member of the Golden Eagles since Oct. 25, 2018 against Seton Hall. In addition, she is the 12th different Marquette player to score this season.

“That was huge. That’s everything and more you can ask the players in positions like that because then you’re walking into the locker room with very different feeling,” Scott said. “You’re able to go in and you’re right back in the game. It’s a fresh half.”

The Golden Eagles finished the first half outshooting the Huskies 5-4.

Much like how it started the game, UConn did not take long to find the back of the net in the second half. In fact, it took 31 seconds for Jada Konte to move through a depleted Golden Eagles defense and put one behind senior goalkeeper Mikki Easter.

The Golden Eagles created multiple chances — including two shots in a span of nine seconds inside the box in the 85th minute —to tie the match in the latter part, but were unable to get another one past Mahoney.

“We managed to step up and play our style soccer,” Scott said. “Games can get hectic but we managed to fight till the end. We didn’t give up. We gave everything we had through the end and sometimes that’s soccer.”

Four different Golden Eagles —Isa Cook, Josie Kelderman, Koker and Easter — suffered injuries in the match. Scott was unable to comment on the injuries after the game.

Kelderman, who just returned to the Starting IX after suffering a torn ACL injury last season, was on the sideline in crutches in the second half. Sophomore goalkeeper Chloe Olson replaced Easter in net in the 72nd minute.

Marquette (6-5-1, 2-2 Big East) will now travel to South Orange, New Jersey to take on Seton Hall (4-5-2, 0-3 Big East) Thursday at 5 p.m. CST.

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

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