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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Schad pushes through prior struggles to succeed

First-year+forward+Taylor+Schad+has+a+team-high+two+goals+and+one+assist.
Photo by Katie Craig
First-year forward Taylor Schad has a team-high two goals and one assist.

This past June, Taylor Schad helped her high school team win its first state championship in its 95-year existence, setting several tournament records in the process. 

Now, four months later, the first-year forward is finding ways to make her mark as a member of the Marquette women’s soccer team. 

However, the first two years of Schad’s career at Kiel High School in Kiel, Wisconsin were a rollercoaster of unprecedented outcomes. 

Her first high school season was brought to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but her sophomore season was defined by a different challenge: injury. 

In the span of six months, Schad had torn both of her ACLs. In October of her sophomore year, she tore her first one. That April, in her first game back, she tore the other.

“It’s all you do, and everything that I just put all my effort and energy into, and then it just got taken away,” Schad said. “It really made me cherish and be grateful for the opportunity to even be playing every day. Every time you’re like, ‘Oh, I don’t really want to practice today,’ it’s not given that you’re going to be able to practice tomorrow.” 

Mike Pritchard, Schad’s high school coach, said that he was in awe of her unwavering determination to recover from her injuries. 

“(She’s) just crazy determined, especially after having two ACL injuries and rehabbing from them with a totally positive attitude, which is just incredible,” Pritchard said. “Since I tore up my ACL, I understood where she was at. I was just completely impressed with her dedication.” 

After recovering from her injuries, Schad came back stronger than ever as a junior, becoming a state record holder for scoring 83 goals and earning 193 points in a season, along with scoring in 25 consecutive games.

Falling short that year in the state championship, Pritchard said he was impressed with how unselfishly Schad played in the following season. 

“Last year was just incredible how she really changed her junior year to her senior year,” Pritchard said. “Her senior year, she really dedicated herself to spreading the wealth. She gave up the opportunity to win the state title for scoring, the state title for most goals or whatever. For senior year, she spread the ball all over the place, and it actually made us a lot better and gave us the opportunity to win the state championship.”

Kiel did win the state championship that year, defeating No. 1 Cedar Grove Belgium 6-5 in overtime.  

Schad, who scored a state record of four goals in the win, said that she was just happy to celebrate with her longtime friends. 

“It was just so much fun because I stopped playing soccer with my school when I was in seventh grade, so I hadn’t played with any of them for four years,” Schad said. “I was just excited to play and excel with the people I grew up with.”

Now, in her collegiate career, Schad is making an impact on Marquette’s offense. She is one of three players to have scored multiple goals, leading the team with five points.

Schad scored her first collegiate goal in Marquette’s penultimate game of non-conference play against Western Michigan, tying the game 1-1. Later in the match, she drew a penalty kick in the 88th minute, allowing senior midfielder Isa Cook to score the penalty and bring the team a 2-1 victory.

Senior defender Aeryn Kennedy said Schad’s grit and determination was key to the team’s success.

“That was well deserved,” Kennedy said after the match. “She definitely had many chances and just kept fighting and fighting. She eventually got it, and that’s what happens when you keep fighting for it.” 

Head coach Frank Pelaez said that he was not surprised by her performance. 

“We know Taylor Schad can score goals,” Pelaez said after the win. “It was just a matter of her getting a little more momentum, getting a little more comfortable with people around her. She’s got great speed; she’s got a nice little cheeky move that she uses all the time.”

As Marquette continues conference play, Schad said she hopes the team continues to emphasize teamwork and perseverance. 

“During the beginning of the season, we obviously struggled to score and just work together,” Schad said. “As the season is progressing, we’re just getting better and better each game. Hopefully, we can finish out the Big East by winning and making the Big East Tournament.” 

In his 26 years of coaching at Kiel, Pritchard said Schad is the best player he has ever gotten the chance to work with and knows she will continue to shine at Marquette.

“She’s a legend of our program for Kiel,” Pritchard said. “I’ve went and watched her a couple of times, and I’m just terribly impressed with her athleticism out on the pitch … If you’re playing to win, she is a starter for Marquette, hands down.”

This story was written by Kaylynn Wright. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @KaylynnWrightMU.

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About the Contributors
Kaylynn Wright, Assistant Sports Editor
Kaylynn Wright is a sophomore from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin studying journalism, and she is an Assistant Sports Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys reading and watching baseball, specifically the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox. She is excited to meet new people and continue to create high-quality sports content for the Wire.
Katie Craig, Staff Photographer
Katie is a Staff Photographer at the Wire. She is a first-year from Lakeville, MN studying digital media and minoring in advertising. In her free time, Katie enjoys photography and hanging out with her friends. This year Katie is looking forward to getting to know more people and improving her photography skills.

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