Liz Bartels was quiet in the box scores for the first nine matches of the Marquette women’s soccer season. The freshman midfielder, however, made her voice heard in the last three games, scoring two goals and dishing an assist in what should be a memorable season for the Golden Eagles.
Bartels has made a substantial effect on the team in her collegiate infancy, similar to other first-year players on the team who also put in offensive contributions.
Coach Markus Roeders is pleased with how Bartels adjusted to Marquette’s playing style, which is noticeably more fast-paced than high school or other pre-collegiate leagues.
“She has great vision on the field,” Roeders said. “She’s an attacking type player. She can score goals, provide assists and hold the ball for us. She’s getting better; she’s getting more comfortable. She’s very open minded about her play because she loves to play and she wants to be out on the field.”
Hailing from Omaha, Neb., Bartels was a four-year letter winner at Skutt Catholic High School and was appointed captain for three seasons. Last year she set her school scoring record with 31 goals and recorded 17 assists.
Bartels scored an emotional goal on the road last week against her hometown college, Creighton, which proved to be the game-winner. Bartels called it “probably one of her favorite goals.”
“It didn’t even feel like I scored,” Bartels said. “When my team came rushing over to me I realized how awesome and exciting it was, seeing all my family and friends screaming and cheering for me.”
Due to her relatively small 5-foot-2-inch frame and her swiftness on the pitch, Roeders dubbed Bartels “Mighty Mouse,” a nickname she has embraced.
One noticeable strength of Bartels is her knack of keeping the ball under control and making intelligent passes, which, as a freshman, says plenty about her potential.
“She isn’t a tall player, so her stride isn’t that long,” Roeders said. “She’s quick, she’s got pace, and she’s terrific on the ball. That is her trade and obviously her strength. She’s playing to her strength, which every player has to do.”
Bartels has stepped up to balance sports, academic and social activities, which has the potential to be difficult for freshmen student-athletes. The upperclassmen players have played a strong role in assisting Bartels and other freshmen with their acclimation.
“In the beginning it was so hard and so demanding because I would have to set aside time for school, soccer and rest,” Bartels said. “I feel like I’ve got the hang of it now. The seniors this year are really good to the younger class.”
Roeders looks for leadership qualities in all of his players, no matter what year they are. The seniors this fall have scored half of the team’s goals. Roeders wants Bartels and the rest of the freshman class to look closely at what their elders are doing on and off the pitch so they can become the same role models three years from now.
“Everybody has to lead in their own way,” Roeders said. “They do have to lead because they’ll have to lead more as we move forward.”
Bartels has been compared to senior midfielder Taylor Madigan, whose well-rounded play, 60 career points, 10 game-winning goals in 80 games, has made her a threat every match. For now, though, Bartels will continue with her style of play and further develop the team chemistry that is vital for success.
“As a recruit, they really stressed family and unity,” Bartels said. “I didn’t think it was as serious until I got here. Everyone supports everyone and everyone is really close with each other.”