When people think of Marquette University sports, many times their thoughts go straight to basketball, but this year, the women’s soccer team, with the help of its seniors, proved that they too deserve recognition.
The soccer team made it through the season with an 11-0-0 record in conference play and a 16-5-3 overall record. They advanced to the NCAA tournament where they made it to the third round for the second time in Marquette history.
This record would not have been possible without the help of some great players and strong leaders. Some of these leaders are seniors Ashley Bares (forward), and Rosie Malone-Povolny (midfielder).
“I think being a senior is a different experience because you are the oldest on the team,” Bares said in an email. “Therefore, you are the one that has the experience and are setting the example for your younger teammates and what you expect from each other.”
Bares, 21, from Belgium, Wis. said she chose to play soccer at Marquette because of the “great atmosphere,” and the “family” feel that the team has.
“I think it was a lot of fun this year and a special year for us,” Bares said.
“Knowing that it was my senior year, I think, also felt different,” she continued. “I wanted to take in each game and not take anything for granted, take in the moments and what we accomplished, being 11-0 was a great accomplishment, and going to the Sweet 16.”
Malone-Povolny, 21, from St. Paul, Minn. echoed Bares’ sentiments.
“I think this year what made our team special was our determination to play beautiful soccer, and the best soccer we could,” Malone-Povolny wrote. “We had this determination because we cared for each other on and off the field.”
Both Bares and Malone-Povolny have played soccer at Marquette for four years. This year, according to The Marquette Tribune, they each earned recognition. Bares earned “All-Big East First Team honors for her contribution to Marquette’s attack that ranked second in conference games in points (80), goals (26) and goals per game (2.26).”
Malone-Povolny was “named to the All-Big East Third Team after starting all 23 matches and tallying 11 points on the season.”
“For me I think it was a great year because I had nothing holding me back,” Bares said. “I was fully healthy and didn’t struggle with any injuries so that allowed me to play how I can.”
In her years as a Marquette soccer player, Bares has struggled with several injuries including compartment syndrome surgery her sophomore year and a broken/dislocated wrist her junior year.
Commenting on her good health, Bares said, “This year I could help my team and fulfill my role as a forward to work and score some goals.”
“Making it to the Sweet 16 was great because it was the first time since I’ve been on the team that we made it that far, so that was neat to experience and take it to the third round of the NCAA tourney,” Bares said.
As seniors, Bares and Malone-Povolny said they felt they had additional responsibilities.
“I think being good examples every day at practice and in games was one of our main goals as seniors,” Malone-Povolny said. “What any team hopes from their seniors is that they lead through their actions and through their awareness of how to build a healthy and caring team. Having that kind of awareness was an important difference this year.”
Although women’s soccer had a season worthy of praise, the girls are also expected to focus on their academics. When asked about how she juggles school and soccer each girl said she was able to use elements from soccer to assist in her studies.
Malone-Povolny took her attitude for soccer and applied it to her academics.
“Both soccer and school are a challenge that require the same mentality for success.” Malone-Povolny said.
“The work ethic and the discipline that is fostered in sports translate smoothly into the academic setting,” she continued. “Just like pushing yourself to finish that last sprint, so too can you push yourself to finish those last ten pages or to write that last paragraph.”
Bares’ teammates supported her in her studies.
“Balancing soccer and studies at first was overwhelming and new to me,” Bares said. “But once you learn how to manage your time and when to get things done, it helps a lot and you can get things done. Using tutors, and even teammates also helped me get my studies done.”
“Being a senior, I think you do have more responsibilities,” Bares said. “I think that comes with experience and learning from previous years. We want to help teach our ‘sisters’ how things are done, and what goals we want to reach, on the field and off.”
Reflecting back on soccer at Marquette, each player felt she had a positive experience.
“Soccer at MU has been a dream for me,” Bares said. “Been fortunate to love my college experience with my team, I’ve met so many great girls and people. It has been a privilege to play for MU and with my teammates. I’ll always have a ‘family’ at MU.”
“I have learned the importance of a challenge and how much that challenge can help you grow into a stronger person,” Malone-Povolny said.
“I have learned how important it is to have great teammates who pick you up when you think you cannot do more,” she continued. “I have learned how important it is to love what you do and to constantly seek to improve on all aspects of that passion.”
by Sara K. Torres