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Marquette Women’s Soccer Preview: vs Chicago State & vs Illinois State

MARQUETTE SOCCER IS BACK, BAYBAY~!

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 31 Indiana State at Illinois State Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Friday night, for the first time since 1996, someone other than Markus Roeders will be steering the ship for Marquette Golden Eagles women’s soccer.

Roeders was the third head coach in program history, and he served in that position for 24 of the 27 years of Golden Eagles soccer. All of Marquette’s 13 NCAA tournaments came with Roeders in charge along with all of their 10 conference regular season championships and all of their four conference tournament championships.

He resigned following the 2019 season, which was his second straight losing season as well as his second losing season every at Marquette. That sets the stage for Frank Pelaez to take the rudder as the fourth head coach in program history. He should be a familiar name to long time followers of the program, as Pelaez was Roeders’ associate head coach from Day 1 in 1996 through the end of the 2014 season. Pelaez left to become an assistant coach at Loyola Chicago, and the Ramblers went 52-37-10 in his five seasons. Over the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Loyola went 25-12-2, including a 12 match winning streak that was only snapped by Hofstra in the 2019 NCAA tournament.

As we touched on when Pelaez was announced as the new coach on Christmas Eve 2019, there’s a real question to be asked as to how much of Roeders’ success at Marquette was because of Pelaez. Marquette won 66% of their matches when he was the associate head coach, and just 44% after he left. If he’s ready and prepared for the big chair, how much of whatever worked before as well as whatever worked at Loyola will apply to Marquette both immediately and down the road?

Anyway, everything starts tonight at Valley Fields. Between the timeshifted season that has delayed Pelaez’s debut as head coach by six months, the fresh start with a new coaching staff, and just the overall weirdness that is this COVID-affected season, there can’t possibly any real expectations for the Golden Eagles. Let’s just hope we see at least glimmers of good things to come.

Game #1: vs Chicago State Cougars (0-0-0)

Date: Friday, February 5, 2021
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: GoMarquette.com
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWSOC

Even with the proximity of the two schools, Marquette and Chicago State have never met in women’s soccer.

Part of the reason why the two sides have never faced off is because CSU has only had a women’s soccer team since the 2014 season. I suspect another part of it is that the coaching staff has been trying to challenge the team in non-conference play.... and Chicago State is 3-106-2 in those six seasons of action. They come into Friday on a 34 match losing streak and a 53 match winless streak. That last win, back on August 25, 2017, was against non-D1 Saint Xavier. The Cougars have not beaten a Division 1 opponent since Match #2 in program history on August 23, 2014... and yes, that is their only Division 1 win in program history to this point, because they have a second win against Saint Xavier in the middle there.

With that said, head coach Christiano Costa has some things working in his favor. One of them is Sara Quevedo, a 5’3” senior from Spain. In 2018, she led the Cougars with four goals and three assists (a program record) last season, and as a result, she was selected to the preseason all-WAC team. She is CSU’s only rep on the all-league team..... and she only played in four games last season. The team was picked to finish last in the WAC, but with eight teams in the league and coaches unable to vote for their own team, Chicago State earned 10 points in the voting. A straight last place vote should have meant seven points in the polling, so they have some supporters somewhere in the conference.

Three women scored goals last season for Chicago State — Barbara Castellanos, Marissa Beale, and Julia Oliveira — and all three are back this season as well. Dutch freshman Stella Chiara Chiaradia is the only goalkeeper on the roster this season, so let’s all cross our fingers that she stays healthy all season.

Game #2: vs Illinois State Redbirds (0-0-0)

Date: Sunday, February 7, 2021
Time: 4pm Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: GoMarquette.com
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWSOC

Marquette is 2-1-1 all time against Illinois State. The first ever meeting was back in 2012 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Marquette has been alternating winning with not winning in this series, and since the last meeting was a scoreless draw in 2017, the Golden Eagles are on deck for a W.

I can’t tell you about what the Missouri Valley coaches think about Illinois State heading into this spring season, as there doesn’t appear to be any preseason polling. I can, however, tell you that they went 14-6-0 in the 2019 season with a 6-1 mark in MVC play. That wasn’t good enough for the #1 seed in the conference tournament, though, and they fell, 2-0, to top seeded Loyola Chicago in the title game.

ISU returns three of their top four scorers from that team... but unfortunately, the one that they’re missing is Kate Del Fava. She had 17 goals, more than twice as many as anyone else on the team, and five assists in the 2019 season. Natalie Vaughn-Low is your leading returning scorer after putting up seven goals and five assists in 14 appearances, while Abby Basler had four goals and a team high six assists in 17 appearances. Those two are the only returning double digit point performers from the last time there was a season, while Sarah LaFayette had three goals and two assists to be the #4 scorer back in the day.

At least based on Illinois State’s 1-1 exhibition draw against DePaul, it appears that redshirt sophomore Priya Gillan has the advantage on the starting netminder job. Gillan played the entire first half in that match, making five saves to keep the match scoreless. Gillan redshirted the 2018 season and then did not see any action in the 2019 campaign. Basler was the one who tallied the goal in the 74th minute that drew the Redbirds level with the Blue Demons.