The Marquette women’s soccer team has won five straight games with four straight shutouts. They have not allowed a goal in over 381 minutes of play. They have also out shot their opponents in all but one game during this stretch. Only Central Michigan managed to out shoot the Golden Eagles while attempting to comeback from a 1-0 first half deficit. Marquette has gotten many of their young players involved in the attack as well. Both Kylie Sprecher and Erin Johnston joined the list of first time goal scorers for Marquette last weekend, and Sprecher’s goal helped her earn the Offensive MVP honors for the All-Marquette Invitational Team. Other players with honors last weekend were Ryley Bugay (Defensive MVP), Caroline Fink, and Eli Beard.
Aside from the opening loss to Stanford, the Golden Eagles have been on rolling on all cylinders. Marquette has out shot opponents 95-69 and have a shots on goal percentage of 43.2% compared to their opponents’ 37.7%. They also have been great at setting each other up for goals combining for 11 assists on the season compared with their opponents’ three. On the other side of the ball, they are playing even better as they’ve been holding opponents not named Stanford to just one goal all season. As mentioned before, Maddie Henry and Sloane Carlson have combined for four straight shutouts. In the Golden Eagles’ last game against Mercer, they only allowed eight total shots and conceded just two first half corner kicks. Mercer only forced Henry to make one save in the entire game. I’ve talked a lot about how Marquette has big shot advantages over their opponents…they out shot Mercer 29-8 on Sunday night.
Obviously Coach Roeders has done a few things right with his team in the early going that has propelled the Golden Eagles to five straight victories.
Marquette’s offense and defense have played exceptionally well throughout their five game winning streak. This can be credited to Roeders putting the same players out there every week. In the six games this season, Roeders has only changed his lineup three times from the previous week. In those games, he’s only switched out one player per game. Emily Hess took Mary Kate Simon’s spot against Drake, Kylie Sprecher swapped with Jamie Kutey against Louisville, and Simon was re-inserted into the starting lineup against Central Michigan for Leah Celarek. Players love when they are playing with the same faces every game and Marquette certainly seems to have found their groove lineup-wise early in the season. Perhaps the most impressive part of what MU has accomplished so far this season is the fact that Kutey and Celarek were removed from the starting lineup for injury related reasons.
The attacking production has given Coach Roeders the confidence to consistently play his younger players. Five freshmen have logged over 100 minutes so far this season. Additionally, the Golden Eagles are getting offensive contribution from players not named Carrie Madden or Darian Powell. Five other players have scored important goals this season. Just last weekend Kylie Sprecher (who has played 330 minutes this season) scored her first career goal against Central Michigan that turned out to be the difference in a 1-0 win. This versatility gives opposing defenses a major headache since they never know where the Marquette attack will be coming from. It also gives the Golden Eagles more options in the attack knowing that anyone is capable of scoring goals.
Darian Powell Watch: The graduate student from La Porte City, Iowa, is currently sitting on 20 career goals, which has her tied for the 11th most in program history. She’s one away from a three-way tie for 9th place, two away from a tie for eighth place, and four away from a three-way tie for sixth place.
Match #7: at Boston University Terriers (1-3-2)
Good news for Marquette is that they have a common enemy with Boston University. The Terriers lost to Louisville 3-2 in the season opener, while Marquette beat the Cardinals 2-0 two weekends ago. It’s rare for two teams to have a common opponent this early in the season. The Golden Eagles can definitely come into this game with confidence knowing that they beat a team that sent the Terriers to a loss. They can also better prepare for the Terriers by analyzing the film of their game against Louisville and comparing it to when they beat the Cardinals. Boston University is also coming off of two draws over the weekend tying Arizona State 0-0 Friday and Arizona 1-1 on Sunday. Their only win this season was a 2-1 victory at home to Northeastern in their third regular season game. It is important to note that Boston University was picked as the preseason Patriot League champs. So far, they have struggled mightily in non-conference play.
BU has yet to see a player score twice this season, but they have gotten goals from six different women. Thanks to an assist on the season, Christina Wakefield gets the nod as the high scorer on the team with three points. Hannah Ciolek has been minding the net for the heavy majority of the season, and as you might expect, her stats are not great. She’s allowing 1.43 goals per 90 minutes, but her 76.3% save percentage is pretty decent. If Boston is planning on a defensive strategy of allowing MU to shoot a whole bunch, that’s probably not going to go well for them.
The Golden Eagles beat Boston University 3-0 in their only meeting between the two teams in Milwaukee two years ago.
Match #8: at Rhode Island Rams (2-4-0)
Marquette also looks favorable in their matchup with Rhode Island, and not just because of how the two teams look this season. Marquette has won both of their historical meetings with the Rams, outscoring them 6-0 in the process.
The Rhode Island Rams have had a very up and down season and had lost three straight games before getting back in the win column last Sunday against Vanderbilt. Opposing teams have done well against the Rams this season shooting an average of five times more per game and scoring over a goal per game more. Opposing teams also have a 47-28 advantage in corner kicks against the Rams. Overall, they have been outscored 15-6 in the regular season. This includes getting clobbered 6-0 by Memphis last weekend for six of the nine goals in the current differential. The Tigers coincidentally sit right above Marquette in the United Soccer Coaches poll, so with a bit of luck, that is a strong indicator for how Marquette will fare against the Rams.
While the Golden Eagles are likely favored to win this game, it’s not a guarantee. They will have to mark Taylor Ross..... presuming she plays. The Rhode Island native came into the season with seven career goals, but a hat trick against Vermont boosted that up to 10. However, she also hasn’t played since then, so we’ll have to wait to see if she’s actually available. We’ll probably see Julia Freeman in net for the Rams. Head coach Megan Jessee made the move to Freeman after redshirt sophomore Haley Brennan got off to a 1-2-0 start and two goals allowed in the first 16 minutes against Brown in game #4 of the season. Freeman seems to be the starter from here on out, although her 1.86 goals-against average isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire.
The Golden Eagles will be playing two opponents that have yet to prove themselves this season. It sets up pretty nicely for Marquette to pick up their 5th and 6th shutouts of the season. The only concern for the team moving forward is that they have not played any really difficult opponents in their five straight victories. The only top 25 team they played against they lost to 4-0. They did win some close games against Louisville, Kentucky, and Central Michigan. Once the Big East season gets underway they will most likely face a top 25 team in Georgetown. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…first they have to play back-to-back road games which they haven’t done all season.
The Golden Eagles’ stellar performances have gotten some national attention from the aforementioned United Soccer Coaches poll. They have moved up to an unofficial 31st in the nation (previously 36th) and are 40 votes shy of the 25th spot in the rankings. The Golden Eagles will look to continue climbing in the national rankings when they face Boston University and Rhode Island this weekend.