Hello, and welcome back to our ongoing Marquette women’s soccer season preview! If you haven’t already seen it, run yourself over to read through our overview of what head coach Markus Roeders has in his players that are returning from the 2018 campaign.
Here we’re going to talk about the newcomers on the roster. There are nine freshmen, although two of them are almost guaranteed to not play this season, as well as one graduate transfer. We’ll start with the grad transfer, as I’d expect her to have the biggest immediate impact on the team, move on to the two women that aren’t likely to play — trust me, it’ll make sense why I think think that — and wrap up with the other seven who may or may not see the field in 2019.
This is being written following the exhibition game against University of Regina, so the results/lineups/rotations/whatever else from that are being taken into account here.
Midfielder Natalie Yass joins the Golden Eagles after playing three seasons at Northern Illinois. It’s not that wild of a connection, as she graduated from Waukesha West High School. After a prep career where she recorded 34 goals and 35 assists, Yass was regularly one of the best point producers for the Huskies. You can take that to mean whatever you want it to mean, as NIU went 15-38-6 in her three seasons. I prefer to think of it as she was one of their bright spots, assembling nine assists and three goals in her three seasons.
We may have gotten a taste of what to expect from Yass this season as she knocked in two goals in MU’s 5-0 exhibition win over Regina. That’s really great, but we have to establish two caveats to that. First, Yass did not start the match. While it’s great that she put the ball in the net twice, she wasn’t at the top of the list to be in the starting 11 in the coaches’ minds for whatever reason. Second, Regina was wildly outclassed in the match, as they didn’t even record a shot in the first half, which ended with MU leading 2-0. I’m not saying that Yass can’t create goals in the future, of course. I’m merely saying that we’re going to need more data than what we have to get a read on what to expect from her.
With Maddy Henry on the scene for her senior season, it seems unlikely that we’ll see much if any of either Mikki Easter or Mel McNamara on the field for the Golden Eagles this season. On the flip side, Easter and McNamara are the only two keepers on the roster other than Henry. One of them is presumably next year’s starter, and at the very least, one of them is going to officially be Henry’s backup in 2019.
Easter’s official MU bio is a bit longer and involved than McNamara’s, so it would seem like her extensive Olympic Development Program experience might give her the inside track as the backup for this season. Apparently she recorded shutouts in all 16 of her district matches — whatever that actually means in Virginia — so that’s pretty good. She was also on the volleyball team for four years in high school and on the swim team for two. Multi-sport experience is never a bad thing. Easter was the first keeper off the bench for Marquette in the exhibition win over Regina, so either A) she’s leading the way to officially be the backup or B) she won the coin toss with McNamara.
Here’s some McNamara highlights:
We have just one forward to talk about, and that’s Shelby Fountain. She’s a 5’3” native of Silver Spring, Maryland, but she’s actually a graduate of IMG Academy in Florida. She was only at IMG for one year, attending Bethesda Chevy Chase High School before that. Her official MU bio doesn’t mention anything in terms of stats from her varsity years at Chevy Chase, which is a little troubling. However, you don’t get to IMG Academy because you’re bad at soccer, as proven by her nine teammates moving on to the Division 1. She was also a track star at CCHS, finishing seventh in the state in the 400 meters and winning a regional championship in the 100 meters. Speed is always a crucial part of being a forward, so we’ll see how well Fountain can translate that to playing time this season.
Here’s a highlight video for her from last August, and you can find more videos on her NCSA page.
There are three freshman midfielders on the roster, and as luck (?) would have it, each one is tasked to a specific department: one straight up middie, one midfielder/forward, and one midfielder/defender. Nice and organized.
We’ll start with the two specialized mids, as both earned themselves a bit of distinction in the exhibition game against Regina. Midfielder/defender Josie Kelderman found herself in Markus Roeders’ first eleven on Wednesday night, which is a little bit surprising for a freshman but also not surprising at all. Those of you paying ultra close attention may have popped when you read her name. Yes, Josie is the daughter of UW-Milwaukee men’s soccer head coach Kris Kelderman. Yes, I am greatly entertained that she is at Marquette instead of playing for Troy Fabiano on the other side of town. In any case, Kelderman earned two high school letters at Nicolet High School in the northern Milwaukee suburbs in 2016 and 2017. That sounds to me like she went the route of not playing high school soccer after that, which seems to be a recurring theme in prospects lately. She did, however, win a Wisconsin state title in the 4x100 meter relay in 2018, which is pretty neat.
Midfielder/forward Alex Campana also showed out against Regina, scoring a goal in the 52nd minute to give MU a 3-0 lead shortly after halftime. The game was to a certain degree already out of control when Campana scored, given that MU had held the Cougars without a shot in the opening 45 minutes, so it’s hard to say for certain what we should take away from this in terms of playing time in 2019. What we do know is that she scored 40 goals and added 30 assists in her four year career at Natick High School in Massachusetts, so she clearly has a knack for getting the ball in the net one way or another.
Maddie Tabor is the straight up midfielder in the group. Having game notes on Kelderman and Campana worked out pretty well in terms of organization of this article because......
..... Maddie’s twin sister Emma Tabor is amongst the defensive crew coming in this season. I love it when a transition comes together. Both Tabors are listed at 5’7”, with both coming to Marquette locally from Brookfield East High School. Neither one played soccer for BEHS, but they were both seven year starters for FC Wisconsin at the club level. Emma’s official bio gives us a little bit of an insight as to how much playing for the Golden Eagles means for the sisters:
“The first time I stepped onto Valley Fields I was age 9. My coach at the time was Jess Taylor, a former MU soccer player, who arranged for my team to be ball girls. I became an instant Marquette Women’s Soccer fan. As I developed as a player and began considering soccer programs and schools, Marquette set the bar for what I wanted in an athletic and an academic experience.”
So it’s been a long time coming.
While the Tabors provided us with a nice gimmick to move from section to section there, it’s actually fellow freshman Addie Shock that made the biggest splash in the exhibition win. She found herself in the starting lineup for Roeders, and given that she’s playing defense, that’s a pretty important role. Then again, it’s hard to pass up (as well as not notice) having a 5’11” defender on your back line. The younger sister of MU sophomore Macey Shock has one of the more interesting high school careers you’ll see, particularly given the role she’ll play for the Golden Eagles. Again, she’s a defender here..... but in her one year of high school soccer at The Wellington School in Ohio, she scored eight goals and 10 assists. She appeared to be playing central defense on Wednesday night, so we’ll see how she fits into MU’s plans going forward.
Katie Smith is the final freshman to discuss. The 6’0” freshman from Arizona doesn’t have much in the way of accolades in her official bio, but we know that her Desert Vista team made it to the Arizona 6A semifinals in her senior year. Winning 14 matches in a row when you’re the team captain is always a big deal, no matter the level, so that’s pretty notable. Marquette’s returning roster strength is in the defensive end of the field, so we’ll have to wait and see how much Smith can contribute immediately. Worst case scenario, Smith and Shock are potentially the most physically imposing pair of defenders on any roster in the Big East over the next four years. That can’t be a bad thing.