Freshman Josie Bieda’s first collegiate career goal came at a big time for Marquette women’s soccer in more than one way on Thursday night. Her 75th minute marker provided the Golden Eagles with an equalizer and allowed them to walk away from their match with Illinois-Chicago with a 1-1 draw. Marquette is now 1-2-1 on the season.
UIC opened up the scoring in the match in the 23rd minute as Jelena Zbiljic’s cross into the middle was nearly perfectly floated over from the far right side of the pitch to out in front of MU keeper Mikki Easter’s left post. Megan Bowman was camped out underneath, and her header was perfectly aimed back across the net and into the right wall past Easter for the 1-0 lead. It was just the fifth total shot of the game, and honestly, Marquette was lucky it took that long for the Flames to break through. They needed a team save in the 12th minute — on a shot from Bowman, no less — to keep the match scoreless at that point.
MU turned the match in their favor evvvvvver so slightly for the rest of the half, outshootin UIC 2-1 the rest of the way for a 4-4 draw in shots through 45 minutes. As the second half went on, quality chances were few and far between for both sides, but it was Easter coming up big in the 58th and 72nd minutes to keep the visitors at just one goal.
And then, in the 75th minute, Bieda made a stellar series of individual effort plays.
I can’t quite make out the number on who it is making the long kick forward to Bieda, but it’s an excellently placed kick out in the middle of the field. Bieda wins the 1-on-1 battle for the ball, knocking it just a little bit forward just as the second defender rushing in alters their momentum. She’s the only one who can attack forward on the ball, so that prompts keeper Lauren Keiser to step forward to play it, and BANG, it’s a goal!
Great work by Bieda on her first collegiate shot to get the Golden Eagles on the board in this match and actually this season overall. MU’s only other intentionally struck goal so far through four matches is a penalty kick by Isabella Cook against Central Michigan, so this was MU’s first run of play goal of the season. You have to score goals to win matches, or so I’m told, so for Bieda to break the ice on the net like this could be a big turning point for Marquette.
With the equalizer coming in the 75th minute, that left the two teams just 15 minutes to try to find a winner. Overtime has been eliminated in college soccer this season, outside of tournament play at least, so the only way to get a win was to put it in the net before the 90th minute finished up. Mikki Easter would make two more saves before the night was done to bring her total in the match to five, while Keiser would make one on her end on a 83rd minute shot by Emma Tabor that did pop out of her hands, but it was a standing save and it popped straight up in the air by a foot or maybe two before she resecured it. The shots don’t tell the story, but it felt like Marquette was pushing a little bit harder in the final 15 minutes than UIC was to get that game winner. Now that the team has seen one go in the net, maybe that releases a little bit of pressure on everyone to get things to work for them going forward.
Up Next: Marquette will be back at it on Sunday with the last match of a three match homestand. It will be Green Bay coming in as the opposition, and the Phoenix are 2-1-0 on the year after falling 3-0 to then-#24 Wisconsin this past Sunday. This weekend’s match will be GB’s first since that loss.