The Marquette Golden Eagles concluded their road trip with a 2-1 win at Rhode Island Sunday afternoon. The two goal scorers for Marquette were Bri Jaeger and Darian Powell. The Golden Eagles got started early when Jaeger got on the end of an Eli Beard corner kick in the 7th minute of play. They took control in the opening period and finished the half with a 7-4 advantage in shots and 8-4 in corner kicks. MU was able to cash in early in the second half when Darian Powell headed in her third goal of the season off a Kylie Sprecher cross. Powell’s goal turned out to be the game-winner after Rhode Island got one back in the 70th minute.
A look at Bri Jaeger's first career goal in the first half at Rhode Island on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/oZtgjKQ5DK— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MUWomensSoccer) September 10, 2017
The Rams goal came when Allyson Reynolds found the back of the net and ended Marquette’s shutout streak at 541:44. The Rams continued to look for the equalizer and created some good opportunities but weren’t able to find the net. Marquette has now won seven straight games and have not allowed opponents to get back into the game. The only time they relinquished a lead after scoring the first goal was against Kentucky in the first match of this run. However, they were only tied for eight minutes before Marquette scored the winning goal. Even though the scoreless streak ended here, the MU defense has made a habit of holding strong when opponents are pushing to get back into the game.
Bri Jaeger scored her first ever MU goal to get the Golden Eagles on the score sheet early in the game. Here was her reaction to her goal and how the defense played:
Hear from Bri Jaeger after her first career goal in the win at Rhode Island. She played all 90 in the victory. pic.twitter.com/nfBUgzMncy— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MUWomensSoccer) September 10, 2017
Coach Roeders says, “they have a great mojo going” when talking about Powell and Sprecher combining again for the decisive goal against the Rams.
Darian Powell scored her third goal of the season which moves her up to a 3-way tie with Mary Luba and Rachael Sloan for 9th place on Marquette’s all-time scoring list with 21 goals. With two non-conference matches left and a full nine game Big East slate ahead, Powell has a great opportunity to reach the top 6 by the end of the season. She is four goals away from a 3-way tie for 6th place. By doing some rough mathematics, she is scoring at an average rate of just about one goal every two games, well above her career rate. With 11 games left in the season, she is on pace to score at least four more goals by the time its all said and done. Scoring is not the only thing Powell is focused on though. She has become a more well-rounded attacking player this season with a team-high four assists to go with her three goals.
Powell wouldn’t have this early season success without the great play of freshmen Kylie Sprecher. After Powell assisted Sprecher for the game winning goal against BU on Friday night, Sprecher sent her a thank you card by way of a well-placed cross that Powell headed home for the decisive goal against the Rams. Sprecher now has two goals and three assists this season and is tied for second in points with Carrie Madden (7). Powell is in first on the team with 10 points (3 goals, 4 assists).
Maddy Henry had another solid performance making five saves and preventing an equalizing goal. She did lose her shutout streak in the 70th minute but had a great run with a personal shutout streak of 526:66 minutes. That is about six full games worth of scoreless soccer for Henry. She has made 31 total saves this season and has a goals against average of 0.78. This average is heavily skewed by the tough outing against Stanford and has only allowed two goals in seven games since that four goal loss.
The Golden Eagles showed their ability to withstand the road test with back-to-back road wins for the first time this season. After being out shot by a whopping 25-1 (yet still managing to win 1-0) against Boston University, they bounced back nicely and out shot the Rams 18-12. This Marquette’s best start to a season since going 8-1 back in the 2011-12 season. They finished that season 18-4 and made it to the second round of the NCAA championship. Hopefully this hot start will help the Golden Eagles achieve a similar feat as they did that season.
Up Next: The Golden Eagles will welcome Illinois State to Valley Fields on Thursday night. The Redbirds lost 3-0 to IUPUI this afternoon and are 2-4-1 this season.