The women’s soccer team was 5-3 heading into the week of Oct. 2, with two all-important conference games ahead against local rivals the University of Dubuque and Central.
On Wednesday, the Duhawks traveled across town and left their mark on Spartan territory with a convincing 4-1 win. It was junior Gretchen Schutz once again that broke the deadlock in the 44th minute with another spectacular strike from a direct free kick around 35 yards from goal. It was her 5th goal in just 3 games.
“Ever since my injury in my senior year of high school, I have I felt as if I haven’t really been able to come out of my shell or had the confidence I once had. Being a part of this amazing and supportive team has taught me to be the best player I possibly can, because you never know when it could end,” said Schutz. “In practices and games we push each other and expect nothing but 100 percent every day. Having this strong of a connection with this group of girls has made it easier to take shots, knowing I’m not going to make every single one, but knowing I still have the support and that they believe in me. Confidence is key no matter what.”
The junior later added an assist to her tally and moved to 13 points on the season and is currently in fantastic form.
Just nine minutes after the restart, it was junior Maura Walsh that beat the Spartan goalie with a header on a corner kick for her second goal of the season. She then had her third on the season just moments later when sophomore Elizabeth Mills found some space and delivered a cross to Walsh that she calmly placed pas the Spartan goalie.
It was a defensive mistake that gave the Dubuque women a lifeline in the match, and senior goalie Maria Siebels was unable to keep out the one-on-one attempt from Kyleigh McLaughlin. The Spartans registered a couple more attempts on goal in the second half but were unable to add to their first tally.
Loras added their final blow in the 79th minute. This time Walsh found Mills on a through ball that saw the sophomore tally her first goal of the season and end any hope the Spartans had.
“I was so happy to get my first (goal) of the year finally. I hope more are to come. But overall, we are winning and if I can contribute to any way in us getting a goal I’ll be equally as happy. Tuesday is going to be a big game,” said Schutz. “They (Wartburg) ended our senior’s careers last year. Our game plan is honestly to just keep playing how we have been playing. I think we have a really strong team this year, and if we keep doing what we are doing and capitalize on our chances then we should be just fine.”
Although it was her first of the year, Mills has been one of the Duhawks’ most dangerous offensive players this season. Her coaches and team will be hoping this is the start of her goal-scoring form before post season play begins.
On Saturday, the women faced Central. The Central team was on a 10-game winning streak after losing their season opener, and had conceded just one goal in the last 10 games. The Duhawks gave them little room for the entire match, allowing just six shots for the Dutch and only four on frame that Siebels was able to deal with comfortably.
Schutz, who has been deadly from set pieces, had an effort saved by the Dutch goalie that was headed for the top corner. It was Walsh who continued her scoring form from the UD game and beat the Dutch goalie early in the second half to give the Duhawks the lead and register her fourth of the season.
This opened up the game a little more as Central pushed forward to tie the game, which led to a defensive mistake by the Dutch defense. The resulting penalty kick was converted by captain Sydney Wright.
The Duhawks are now 7-3 on the season and have an unblemished 3-0 conference record. After having faced a ranked Wartburg side on the road on Tuesday, the team will return to the Rock Bowl on Saturday, Oct. 15, with kickoff at 3:30 p.m.