After returning home to the friendly confines of Valley Fields last weekend, the Marquette women’s soccer team will battle what it calls two “natural” rivals in spring games against DePaul and Wisconsin this weekend.
After battling the Badgers to a 2-2 tie on the road last August in exhibition play, the Golden Eagles found themselves on the wrong end of a questionable draw in the NCAA tournament, which saw them traveling to Dayton, Ohio, instead of hosting first and second round play, as the Badgers did.
Marquette finished with a 15-5-3 record, compared to Wisconsin’s 10-6-6 finish.
“We’re still a little bitter about Wisconsin’s home bid last year,” junior midfielder Julia Victor said. “We definitely want to show them that we deserved to play at home.”
The Golden Eagles have certainly been the aggressor on the offensive end in their four spring games so far. The team has outscored its opponents 9-3, including a 4-0 romp of city rival Wisconsin-Milwaukee last weekend.
The offensive aggressiveness is something coach Markus Roeders would like to see continue for the rest of the spring and into the fall.
“It’s great to come out guns blazin’ and sort of set the tone for the game and try to sustain it for 90 minutes or however long we play,” Roeders said. “It’s important to build momentum and play from the front rather than play catch-up all game.”
The team echoed Roeders’ thoughts by scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes of the UW-Milwaukee game and putting the Panthers on their heels for the rest of the game. Marquette also scored two goals in the first half of the Nebraska game to take the momentum from the visiting Cornhuskers.
The team was able to play all 19 of its players for both games last weekend, something Victor believes will benefit the team as it moves forward.
“We do it all the time in practice, and it’s a good chance to find that player who might not have had a chance to make a big contribution last season but might this year,” Victor said.
While DePaul is located just south of Milwaukee in Chicago, Marquette hasn’t had a chance to play the Blue Demons in two years and is looking forward to renewing its rivalry with its fellow Big East squad.
“We’re natural rivals with them, so it would make sense for us to want to beat them even if the game doesn’t count toward our overall record,” junior midfielder Rosie Malone-Povolny said. “The games get better every time we play and we know what to expect for next season.”
As for Wisconsin, a team that reached the Sweet 16 last season, Roeders is excited to get to see what his team is really made of as it tries to build off a successful season last fall.
“Both DePaul and Wisconsin, particularly Wisconsin, return many of their players from last year, while we’re sort of rebuilding,” Roeders said. “We want to fine tune our game and this weekend will be a perfect opportunity against two outstanding ball clubs.”