Marquette women’s soccer reentered the win column Thursday night as they defeated the University of Illinois at Chicago 1-0.
The win snaps a three-game losing skid for the Golden Eagles.
“The team came out with some intensity, some passion, some enthusiasm and that’s what I’ve been preaching to them,” head coach Frank Pelaez said. “I told them the way they can bounce back from from a really difficult weekend where they learned a lot and if they can bounce back at home with a little bit of intensity, enthusiasm and passion they did it. And good things happen when when you come out that way.”
For the second time this season at home, the Golden Eagles jumped out early.
In the 17th minute, redshirt junior midfielder Katrina Wetherell sent a corner kick from the left corner into the box and teammate Rachel Johnson connected with the header to put it past Flames goalkeeper Lena Kurz.
“That was strategically planned,” Pelaez said. “We work on corner kicks, day in, day out. So they execute the service great, they executed it great. And at the end of the day, you want to have the highest percentages in there. I couldn’t draw it up any better.”
It was Johnson’s first goal of the season.
“That was huge,” graduate student Maddie Monticello said. “We just started trying to do (some) new set plays, talked about how we have to emphasize and capitalize on those set pieces and that’s going to be our differentiator. For her to capitalize on it and show everyone that we’re here to play and put us up one goal and ultimately win it’s awesome. I’m really proud her.”
Then just before halftime, the Golden Eagles looked to increase their lead.
In the 44th minute, graduate student defender Kylie Sprecher sailed one into the box from 30-feet out. First-year midfielder Maggie Starker got a piece of Sprecher’s cross pass but it sailed high across the crossbar.
It was second time this season that Marquette went into the halftime break with a lead.
The second half would not be much different.
UIC’s best chance to even the score came in the 55th minute when redshirt junior defender Madison Burrier was called for a foul outside of MU’s 18-yard box.
Graduate student midfielder Alexis Weeren got a piece of the Flames kick into the box, took a shot herself but Marquette redshirt first-year goalkeeper Mikki Easter came up with the save.
The 79th minute of the game brought another scoring opportunity for the Flames but Easter stopped it.
Marquette outshot University of Illinois-Chicago 15-5 on the night.
Easter finished with two saves on the night. Meanwhile Kurz finished with six saves on the night while allowing the lone goal.
The 1-0 win was Marquette’s first shutout win of the season and Easter’s first clean-sheet of the year.
“Being a defender that’s the best feeling ever,” Monticello said. “Right below a win that’s the best feeling ever and I know Madison Burrier and I we’ve talked going into each game, like what can we do to get that clean sheet? To finally get that as our first time this season, it feels amazing especially at home under the lights.”
Next up for Marquette (2-3) will be a Sunday matinee against the University of St. Thomas.
“I’m looking to see the same type of enthusiasm they had coming out of the locker room today,” Pelaez said. “We learned a lot on the road and I think it brought it out today. So I’m expecting to go hard again tomorrow (at practice). We go hard every day at practice and then when we come out of here, we just hope the plan comes together.”
This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.