Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven’t noticed, the start of the women’s soccer season is upon us. Markus Roeders and Co. kick off their 2018 campaign when they visit Cal Poly this Thursday. This week we will be giving you a quick refresher about where the team stands and what you can expect coming in to the season. Mr. Brewtown Andy already started this preview series with a look at Marquette’s newcomers and you can check that out here. Today I will talk about the returners.
The Golden Eagles have 21 returning players of which 19 of them got playing time last year. Maura Weaver and Meredith McGuire both redshirted while Rachel Johnson played three games before getting injured and declaring for a medical redshirt. I will lay out the returning squad starting with the goalkeepers and ending with the forwards.
Goalkeepers: Junior Maddy Henry and Senior Sloane Carlson
Maddy Henry is Marquette’s saving grace in net. She has been the starting goalkeeper since her freshmen year and has racked up 14 shutouts and a goals against average of 1.17 in her two seasons. Last year she finished third in the Big East in saves averaging 4.71 per game and second in shutouts with 10. On countless occasions, Henry kept Marquette in the game with timely saves and gave the team a shot to get a result. She stood on her head with a career high 9 saves in the season opener against no. 2 Stanford last year. She also had key 7 and 6 save games in close contests against St. John’s and Xavier down the stretch. I have no doubt that she will continue to be the shot-stopping machine when called into action this season. I say “when called into action” because I expect the defense to be stronger this year.
Defenders: Junior Emily Hess, redshirt junior Brianna Jaeger, sophomore Maddie Monticello, senior Leah Celarek, senior Allison Jacobson, redshirt sophomore Mary Kate Simon, redshirt sophomore Maura Weaver
Marquette has an enormous amount of experience on defense. The four that have started both preseason games (Hess, Jacobson, Jaeger, & Monticello) have a combined 46 starts between them and all of them played in at least 15 games last season. The preseason games lead me to believe that this will be the back four that coach Roeders goes with in the opener against Cal Poly. Leading this group is the Illinois native Emily Hess who saw the field in every game last year and was on the 2016 Big East All-Freshmen Team. There is optimism that this defense will be improved from last year where they were in the bottom half of the Big East in goals allowed with 23. They’ll need to tighten it up in the back because their non-conference play will feature two top-10 opponents in Duke (#3) and North Carolina (#6) according to the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll. They will also battle Wisconsin and UWM who are in the receiving votes category. A strong back line will be necessary right of the get-go.
Midfielders (M/F): Redshirt senior Ryley Bugay, redshirt senior Heather Handiwork, redshirt sophomore Erin Johnston, redshirt freshman Rachel Johnson, sophomore Maggie Lena, sophomore Elaina Eckert, redshirt sophomore Josie Fowler, redshirt freshman Meredith McGuire
The midfielders as well as those designated as midfield/forwards is probably where Marquette has the least experience. Ryley Bugay was the only one to start all 21 games. Other than that, Heather Handiwork and Erin Johnston have one start a piece and the remaining players combined to play 108 minutes last season. If the preseason matches are any indication of the starting lineup to kick-off the season, then it looks like Bugay and Celarek will team up with freshman Katrina Wetherell to start in the midfield. It’s clear with the midfielders he’s started in both of the tune-up games that coach Roeders is trying out some new things. Celarek is listed as a defender on the roster but had 8 starts in 15 games last year and comes with a veteran presence. We’ll see if Roeders mixes up the midfield and toys with different lineups in the first few games.
Forwards: Redshirt senior Carrie Madden, sophomore Kylie Sprecher, redshirt sophomore Abby Hess, and senior Jamie Kutey
Carrie Madden leads the way in the attack leading the team in points last year with 19 (7 goals, 5 assists). She finished 5th in the Big East in points all while missing 4 games due to injury. She also made it on the 2017 All-Big East First Team and was a unanimous selection to the preseason All-Big East Team this year. If she stays healthy look for her to be Marquette’s leading goal-scoring threat. Kylie Sprecher stepped up in a big way last year providing a spark as a freshmen with 12 points (3 goals, 6 assists). She will be weapon numero dos on the attack as a scorer but more importantly creating opportunities for her teammates. For some reason, coach Roeders has sat her out in both preseason contests so who knows if she’s recovering from an injury or what else could be going on. Nevertheless, Abby Hess (21 games played last year) and Jamie Kutey (18 games played last year) will have an important role in the attack this year as they’ve both started alongside Madden in the preseason contests.
The returners will have a huge impact in how the Golden Eagles play this year. Only one freshmen (Katrina Wetherell) looks like she’ll be in the starting XI in game one. There is a lot of veteran presence on the team who will hopefully guide the Golden Eagles to an NCAA Tournament bid that eluded them last season.