Officially, Sunday’s soccer match against UConn goes in the book as a 2-1 loss for Marquette women’s soccer. That’s the part that the Big East office is paying attention to when keeping track of the standings, where the Golden Eagles are now 2-2-0.
The losses for head coach Frank Pelaez and his staff.... those might be a little bit bigger.
Keeping in mind that after Sunday afternoon, Pelaez has just three women who have started all 12 matches this year, the Marquette depth chart might have taken a tremendous beating. After Katie Koker tied the match at one each in the 30th minute, Isabella Cook went down and struggled to get back to her feet before the referee blew the whistle for a stoppage. She would return to the field for the second half, but subbed out in the 66th minute. Eight real time minutes later, Josie Kelderman went down in an unmoving heap to the left of UConn’s attack, and it took the ref quite a long time to finally do something about that. Kelderman needed assistance walking off and would not return.
In the second half, after UConn took the lead just seconds after intermission on a misplayed clearance by keeper Mikki Easter, there was a collision in the 72nd minute. Easter paddled away a cross to keep it away from her net and keep the Golden Eagles within one, but her landing after leaping into the air did not go well. Easter went down and did not move, and only after Easter finally rolled back to a kneeling position did I realize that Koker was tangled up in the entire proceedings as well. Both women left the match and did not return. This appearance by Easter was the first since playing one half of MU’s contest against Western Michigan on September 15th, and it remains to be seen how that will impact the rest of her season.
Koker has started in 11 of MU’s matches and appeared in all 12. Kelderman has played in 10 with seven starts this year, and Cook is one of the trio to start all 12. If they’re all going to miss time going forward, that’s going to make it just a liiiiiiiitle bit tougher for the Golden Eagles to get into the top six of the Big East table and reach the conference tournament for the first time in a while.
Up Next: Marquette has just one match over the next week, so that might be helpful relative to getting everyone back up to fighting speed. It will be on Thursday evening as the Golden Eagles head out east to face Seton Hall. The Pirates are 4-6-2 on the year, but 0-4-0 in Big East play after falling 2-0 to Xavier on Sunday in Cincinnati. SHU has not scored a goal in Big East play yet, bringing their total number of shutouts on the season to eight.