We kick off our team-focused season preview for Marquette women’s soccer with a look at the newcomers on the roster. In this case, we’re looking at eight freshmen: three defenders, two midfielders, and one each in the categories of midfielder/defender, midfielder/forward, and forward. This is the part of the show where I mention my ongoing feud with head coach Markus Roeders and his incredibly weird player categorization system, at least as it applies to his newcomers. His upperclassmen (as we’ll get to next week) have much more clearly defined roles on the roster, but not so much for the first year women.
In any case, we’ll split the women up into three groups for our conversation here: defenders (including the M/D), midfielders, and forwards (including the M/F). We’ll start with the defenders because they’re the group that’s least likely to see the pitch in 2018 due to the roster depth in front of them. We’ll get to it next week, but Marquette has seven upperclassmen listed as defenders on the roster and six of them appeared in at least 15 of Marquette’s 21 games in 2017. That’s not going to leave a lot of space for freshmen to carve out a role.
Before we get started, I think it’s worth mentioning that all but one of the freshmen saw action during Marquette’s Monday night 2-0 exhibition win over Green Bay, with one (Katrina Wetherell) getting the nod in the starting eleven. Neither Marquette nor Green Bay published a box score from that contest, so it’s unclear as to how many minutes Roeders allocated to his freshmen and thus hard to make a judgment as to who may or may not have an advantage in playing time when the lights go on for real on August 16th. It’s also worth pointing out that all but five field players on the roster got into the game, with one of the five being Kylie Sprecher, who scored three goals and six assists last season, and would otherwise figure in as an important part of the team in 2018.
On we go then.....
While I think it’s going to be hard for any of these four women to pick up playing time in 2018, Bonnie Lacey seems like the primary candidate to break through. She’s already a semester ahead of her compatriots, having enrolled for spring semester. It’s unclear exactly how much experience she can gain through spring practice with the team, but the added time for Roeders and his staff to evaluate how she fits into the roster is undeniable. It was a pretty major sacrifice for Lacey to join MU at the break, as it meant that she had to give up her senior season at Sheboygan North High School, as girls’ soccer is a spring sport in Wisconsin. She started 61 matches in her three years with the Golden Raiders, tallying 14 goals and 10 assists from the back line. They won a regional championship in her junior season and she was an all-conference performer in each of her three campaigns, twice making it to the First Team. She has experience through the Olympic Development Program, including being named team captain in 2017.
The other three defending types in the freshmen class all have a connection to one of their fellow newcomers in one of those weird “well, hey, we’re recruiting her, why not her, too” kind of moments. Katie Koker might have had the most unique high school soccer experience out of the entire freshman class, as she only played one year of high school soccer, but she won Wisconsin Division 4 state title that year. She has experience with the Olympic Development Program and helped propel SC Waukesha to four straight state club titles along the way, meaning she got more than her fair share of high level soccer experience even while not playing for her high school. She also got a chance to play with Alyssa Bombacino with Chicago Eclipse, although I’m not 100% sure how that whole “playing with multiple club teams” thing works.
Madeline Warren comes to Marquette from Arizona, where she got a chance to play club soccer with Katrina Wetherell. She played four years of varsity soccer at Xavier College Prep in Phoenix, getting a chance to win a state title as a junior after finishing third in her first two seasons. Madison Burrier is also from out-of-state, attending Jerome High in Dublin, Ohio, which is ostensibly a suburb of Columbus. Burrier is the middie/defender combo in the group, which is kind of fun, because her club teammate Macey Shock is MU’s middie/forward combo player. Jerome won four conference titles during Burrier’s tenure, including when she was team captain in her final two seasons. Those two squads also won district titles, and her senior season ended in the state quarterfinals.
Since we already mentioned her a moment ago, we’ll start this section off with Katrina Wetherell. In addition to teaming up with Madeline Warren on the Sereno SC club team, the 5’8” Wetherell was a goal scoring machine for Kellis High School in Peoria, Arizona in her final two years of varsity competition. She posted 32 goals and five assists as a junior, followed by 26 strikes and five helpers as a senior. She tended to score goals in bunches as a senior, recording 15 of her goals in five hat tricks. It’s possible that neither of those two campaigns were Wetherell’s best for Kellis, as she picked up a team MVP award as a freshman after recording 18 goals and 11 assists. If she’s got a nose for doing the right thing with the ball, be it scoring or distributing, Wetherell might have a chance of cracking into the slightly less deep midfield rotation. There’s a Hudl page with a selection of highlight clips on it, but nothing since February of 2017.
MU’s other new midfielder is Sammi Bugay, and yes, that’s the younger sister of redshirt senior Ryley Bugay. If her official bio is any indication, it seems that the younger Bugay may fit into the same mold as her older sibling. Most notably: She’s not a scorer. Neither is Ryley, though, who posted her first goal and assist of her Marquette career last season. If Sammi is the same kind of player, then the stockpile of defensive minded players on the field may end up keeping her on the bench for most of 2018.
Marquette may not need a lot of additional scoring prowess this season based on who’s on the roster, but if Markus Roeders finds himself looking for a little more pop, expect to hear Alyssa Bombacino’s name called. Her 46 career goals are the third most in her high school’s history, and that kind of production earned her all-conference honors all four years. She was an all-Illinois honoree by Top Drawer Soccer for each of her final two years of high school action, so clearly she knows what she’s doing out there. Personally, I’m kind of hoping she makes a a big impact with some booming goals because all respect intended, that last name is begging for a golazo or seven.
Here’s a local news profile package on Bombacino, including a few highlight clips.
Macey Shock is the forward/midfielder combo in the freshman class, and while she and Madison Burrier got a chance to play in ECNL Nationals with Ohio Premier, her official bio is slightly lacking in scoring information. That’s not a bad thing, per se, but you do like to see a history of goal scoring experience from a forward as they begin their collegiate career. There’s more than one way to make an impact on the pitch, though, and seeing as Shock doesn’t really have any prep career information at all, perhaps she just needs a chance to let her talent speak for itself. She has a Hudl page as well with a few clips, but it hasn’t been updated since 2016.