Women’s soccer moves to No. 17

Emma Marcus scored two game-winners as Xavier beat Ball State and Loyola-Chicago

By Joe Laurich, Staff Writer

Xavier women’s soccer moved up to No. 17 in the country in the United Soccer Coaches National Poll this week following wins over Ball State and Loyola-Chicago. The Musketeers 7-0 start is their best since going 8-0 to begin the 1990 season.

Against Ball State on Thursday, Xavier picked up a 1-0 win on a goal from junior forward Emma Marcus via feed from freshman forward Chloe Netzel in the 23rd minute. 

“An ugly goal, but that’s OK. I like ugly goals just as much as I like sensational goals,” Head Coach Nate Lie said about the Musketeers’ only goal. 

“It’s funny because Emma’s had so many chances this year, so many. She’s forced keepers into so many saves,” Lie added. “It was nice to see her get that game-winner. She deserves it.” 

As has been the case frequently this season, Xavier’s defense once again stood out, limiting Ball State to just one shot on goal. Senior goalie Olivia Jenkins earned her third shutout of the season. Senior defenders Grace Brauer and Hayley Jakovich played all 90 minutes for the Musketeers and were key to keeping Ball State off the board. 

With wins over Ball State and Loyola-Chicago, the Xavier Musketeers moved up to No. 17 in the Top 25 rankings this week, advancing from No. 23. Xavier’s defense was talented again, only allowing one goal

Netzel and Marcus came through for Xavier again on Sunday, as each tallied a goal in the 2-1 win over Loyola-Chicago, who came off a Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) championship last season. In the seventh minute, sophomore midfielder Elise Le assisted Netzel, whose low shot on the left side of the goal gave Xavier an early 1-0 lead. 

It was Netzel’s third goal and team-high seventh point of the season. Marcus scored in the 49th minute to give Xavier a two-goal cushion before Loyola’s Megan Nemec, last year’s MVC player of the year, gave the Ramblers their only goal of the game in the 65th minute. 

Late in the game, Loyola-Chicago made a push but ultimately couldn’t find the back of the net. They held a 7-2 advantage in shots in the second half, while Xavier led 9-4 in the first half, giving each team 11 shots.

Each team also had four shots on goal.

“We scored early in both halves. The 2-0 felt pretty comfortable — it wasn’t like 2-0 when we were defending the whole time,” Lie said. “The last 15-20 minutes were a nightmare. (Loyola-Chicago) showed why they’re champions. They showed why they win a lot of games.” 

“What I told our team is if we’re ever losing by a goal, which thankfully we haven’t been this year, I want them to press the issue like they pressed the issue against us,” he continued. “I have as much respect for this team as I have for any opponent we played in a long time.” 

Xavier closes out their non-conference schedule tonight at 6 p.m. on the road against Bowling Green.