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Three Questions For Women's Soccer

We continue our preview of the upcoming women's soccer season by asking three questions about the Golden Eagles.

Maegan Kelly is on pace to break the all time assists record before October 1.
Maegan Kelly is on pace to break the all time assists record before October 1.

1) Can they repeat?

This question takes on two different aspects. First, there's the aspect of the regular season title. Marquette has won four consecutive division titles in the Big East, but with the conference cutting down to just ten teams this year, there's no longer two divisions. Second, Marquette won the 2012 Big East tournament, so they'll be trying for the twofer repeat in 2013.

So back to the question at hand. While it's easily possible, it won't be easily done. Yes, the Golden Eagles went 4-0 in 2012 against teams in this year's Big East, and they did so without allowing a goal. But Georgetown will be a formidable opponent, and odds are it will take a win over the Hoyas to take both the regular season and tournament title. Plus, there's the three new teams that Marquette isn't used to playing, and since they haven't played each other since 2010, Villanova may as well be a newcomer when it comes to familiarity with an opponent.

2) Can a Marquette defender win Big East Defensive Player Of The Year for the fourth consecutive season?

Kerry McBride won in 2010 and 2011, and Ally Miller followed that up with the conference's top honor for a defender last year. The odds are that it probably won't happen again. But the nature of the system of play that head coach Markus Roeders deploys is defensively oriented. His keepers in those three years (Natalie Kulla and Amanda Engel) were amongst the league leaders in goals-against average and save percentage, but not in saves. The reason being is it's very easy to not allow goals if the ball never comes anywhere near the net. But as I mentioned in the preseason awards predictions post, there are a number of outstanding defensive players in the Big East this season, more than I was willing to put on my all-conference team. While Marquette will probably be a great defensive team again this season, I can see the Big East coaches going in a different direction if someone shines during the course of the season.

3) When will Maegan Kelly break the program's all time assists record?

Kelly is currently sitting on 29 assists after her first three seasons in a Golden Eagles kit. The all time program record is 33, set by Regina Sekyra, who played for MU from 1994-1997.

Kelly has been averaging 0.43 assists per game. If she maintains that pace, she'll tie Sekyra in Marquette's 10th match of the season, over on the east side of Milwaukee against UWM, and break the record in the 12th match, on the road against Villanova.

Only four of Marquette's first 12 matches are at home, five if you want to count the one at UWM. Even if Kelly gets on an early hot streak, the odds are that she is not going to get that fifth assist in the Valley. But with 13 assists in 2012 and 12 assists the year before that, it's clear that she will break the all time assists record at some point this year.