At the end of the day, it’s a 2-1 win for Marquette women’s soccer against Western Michigan, and that’s all that matters.
But boy howdy, it sure looked for a good long while, nearly all 90 minutes, like it wasn’t going to be.
I don’t mean because Jen Blitchok scored in the 27th minute as WMU outshot Marquette 6-3 in the first half to take a 1-0 lead into intermission. I also don’t mean because it was a poor defensive effort by Marquette that led to the Blitchok goal, both by the field defenders as well as keeper Chloe Olson who mistimed a challenge at the very top of the box and got caught well out of position as Blitchok knocked it into an undefended net.
I don’t even mean that Marquette was still trailing as the game passed the 50 minute mark. Even Taylor Schad’s goal in the 54th minute didn’t make it look like Marquette was going to come out the victor in this match.
54' | WMU - 1 | MU - 1 | Schad scores Marquette's first goal and her first career goal! pic.twitter.com/Fru5A6YzZl— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) September 15, 2023
Let’s be honest about it: That’s not the world’s most stylistic goal. It’s a perfectly placed shot, as Schad put it towards the post, away from where WMU keeper Lauren Boafo had a chance to dive to get it. But it’s kind of a slow roller as far as goals go.
That tied it up with about 35 minutes to play, which meant things were trending towards Marquette not losing the match. That’s not the same as winning though, and after Elsi Twombly, making her return after an early season injury, missed a shot to the right in the 60th minute, Marquette just wasn’t generating shots.
75th. Western Michigan wasn’t getting any shots either, so this isn’t the worst thing ever, but y’know, winning would be nice.
And then, in the 89th minute, Western Michigan pulled the ball away from Marquette deep in the Golden Eagles’s offensive end.... but booted it back into the middle of the park. The Broncos couldn’t regain possession, but Taylor Schad did. She took off into the box, and two steps in, she ate a full on Heisman Trophy-style stiff arm, knocking her down.
Isabella Cook, for the win, with 74 seconds to play.
89' | WMU - 1 | MU - 2 | Marquette goal scored by Cook, her first goal of the season! pic.twitter.com/wPrU3CoZDq— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) September 15, 2023
The risky shot, putting it down the middle and into the roof? Maybe. But also maybe Cook realized that Boafo stands just 5’4” and she was most likely to dive one way or another to stop the PK. The one spot she definitely won’t get if she’s diving? Down the middle and high.
BY THE WAY, THE MATCH WAS NOT OVER.
Olson had to make a 90th minute save with just 10 seconds left in regulation as WMU got a very last second corner kick and she punched away the original launch, but it bounced and landed at the foot of a Bronco for a 20 yard desperation boot.
And that’s how you win a match that it really looked like you weren’t going to win almost all the way up to the end.
Up Next: Marquette returns to action on Sunday afternoon, as they welcome St. Thomas to Valley Fields. Keeper Mikki Easter is released from her red card suspension after Thursday’s contest, so we’ll see where head coach Frank Pelaez goes with his netminder for that one. The Tommies will be coming off more than a week’s worth of rest, as their last match was a 1-1 draw at Drake on September 7th.