It was a tough weekend for the Marquette women’s soccer team, but head coach Markus Roeders hopes it will be a learning experience for his team.
“We knew what we were getting into, but we have to play these kinds of teams to know where we’re at,” Roeders said. “These are two NCAA championship-caliber teams, and we’re just not there yet.”
The Golden Eagles (3-2-1) dropped a 4-0 decision against North Carolina (4-1-1) on Friday evening and lost 5-2 against Duke (6-1-0) Sunday afternoon at the Duke/Nike Invitational in Durham, N.C.
It was a far cry from their first four games where Marquette didn’t allow a goal and started 3-0-1.
“We were tested big time,” junior defender Katie Hishmeh said. “We know what we still have to work on and it’s good to play teams like this. It’s a good learning experience.”
In the match against North Carolina, Marquette went into halftime down just 1-0 but yielded a goal in the first minute of the second half that Roeders said put the Golden Eagles on their heels.
“We played really well in the first half against Carolina, but they make it difficult to put 90 minutes together against them,” Roeders said.
Against the Blue Devils, Marquette found itself down 2-0 at halftime and 4-0 in the 72nd minute before finally tallying its first goal of the weekend.
Junior midfielder Kate Reigle scored her second goal of the year off a pass from fellow junior Cara Jacobson and junior forward Taylor Madigan scored just three minutes later to make it 4-2.
Duke re-inserted many of its starters after that and scored again in the 80th minute to put the game away, but Roeders was encouraged by how his team continued to fight despite trailing by four goals.
“We made some mistakes, but I think the second half against Duke is something we can really build on,” Roeders said. “We had some good individual performances from players who were getting some of their first looks of the year.”
Marquette will have to turn the page on last weekend with a road trip to Pittsburgh for the Big East opener on Thursday before taking on George Mason Sunday in its final non-conference match of the season.
Hishmeh is confident the team will bounce back after getting beat up in both games.
“We got knocked down a few times this weekend,” Hishmeh said. “It makes us more aware of where we are as a team and what we still need to work on, and I have no doubt we will do that.”