Good News: Marquette women’s soccer converted one of their five shots on the night and two shots on frame into a goal against the #24 ranked team in the country.
Good News: Marquette’s defense limited #24 Xavier to just eight shots overall and only three after halftime.
Bad News: One of Xavier’s shots found its way past MU keeper Mikki Easter.
Medium News: That meant Marquette had to settle for a 1-1 draw with the Musketeers, which isn’t a bad result against a top 25 team.
Bad News: It was, however, a not-good result relative to it being Marquette’s regular season finale and MU coming into the match needing to break up their tie for the sixth and final Big East tournament berth.
Worse News: UConn, the other half of that tie coming into Thursday, beat Seton Hall 4-0 to send them in front of the Golden Eagles in the standings.
Worst News: Before MU’s match finished, Creighton and Butler went to a 1-1 draw, sending the two teams tied for fourth place in the standings one point ahead of MU’s best possible finish if they could find a game winner against Xavier. That result combined with UConn’s win eliminated Marquette from the postseason on its own, no matter what the Golden Eagles did with the remainder of their match.
And so the season comes to a halt for head coach Frank Pelaez and his team at 7-7-4 overall and 3-4-3 in Big East action. It’s definitely not the finish you want to the season after winning your first two league matches, but it was a finish that was looming large after the Golden Eagles dropped a 1-0 loss to Seton Hall, who finishes the year with that victory as their only one of Big East play this season. If you want to finish top six and qualify for the conference tournament, you have to beat the teams that are very clearly not on track to be in the top six. Marquette did not do that, and so they’re not in the top six either.
How about we take a look at Katrina Wetherell’s goal for the Golden Eagles, which came just past the 33 minute mark?
34' | Senior Katrina Wetherell breaks the scoreless contest with her first goal of the season!— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) October 28, 2022
MU 1 | XU 0 pic.twitter.com/jhrTQznNRu
It’s the only goal of the year for Wetherell, who returned to the team this year for her COVID bonus season of eligibility but was limited to just 528 minutes while appearing in only half of MU’s matches this fall due to injury. You can see the excitement in the celebration, which I imagine was part “Katrina got a goal on Senior Night!” and also “We’re up 1-0 on the #24 team in the country!”
Marquette’s lead lasted a little over 10 minutes. Mikki Easter came way off her line to defend an attack from Regan Dancer and paddled it to the side to allow her field defenders to collapse and help. That led to Dancer collecting it before it went over the end line and smashing it back towards the middle of the field. Molly McLaughlin collected the stray and fired off a shot that was turned on a deflection by Grace Blumfeldt for the equalizer.
Grace Blumfeldt scores from Molly McLaughlin to the the match just before halftime! pic.twitter.com/HFfQXIaRns— Xavier Women's Soccer (@XavierWSOC) October 28, 2022
1-1 at intermission as a result, and with just four shots total in the second half, that was the result after 90 minutes. Easter did make two saves on XU’s offensive attempts after the break, one in the 60th minute and one in the 77th, to give the Golden Eagles a chance to find a winner, but that just did not happen.
No Up Next segment today since the season is over, but that means we have to say farewell to Marquette’s seniors. Rachel Johnson, Bonnie Lacey, and Katrina Wetherell were all Senior Night honorees a year ago but returned to the Golden Eagles for their bonus season of eligibility this fall. Elizabeth Bueckers and Isabella Cook were only in Milwaukee for one season, with Bueckers on a bonus season of eligibility herself. Grace Allen, Hailey Block, Alex Campana, Mikki Easter, Josie Kelderman, Emma Tabor, and Maddie Tabor are all what you would call traditional seniors and have wrapped up their collegiate careers.
It has not been the most fun or normal four seasons of Marquette soccer. The women who have been here for four (and five!) years were recruited to play for Markus Roeders and did for their freshman campaigns before he resigned. Frank Pelaez was installed as the new head coach in December of that first school year on campus.... and then the pandemic hit. These women had to deal with the coaching change and the pandemic protocols and the weird short timeshifted spring season, and just kept on chugging, both in the classroom and on the field.
They have fallen just barely short of postseason possibilities in three straight seasons, which could easily create a level of disappointment about on-field success and achievement for the team. But given everything that they’ve been through, and this goes for the women who transferred in as well since they had to experience pandemic soccer at their previous stops, it’s hard to do anything but admire and celebrate what they did accomplish just to get here, still standing, still kicking, still fighting. THANK YOU to each and every single one of these women for everything that they have put into Marquette soccer, no matter how long their tenure in blue and gold actually was, and we wish them nothing but the best in whatever comes next.