It took over 100 minutes, but Northwestern captured a much-needed victory and caught a glimpse of their future in the fires of Flames Field Wednesday afternoon. Sophomore Elo Ozumba drilled his first career goal to lead the Wildcats (3-3-1, 1-1-0 BIG) to a 2-1 victory over the UIC Flames (4-3-1) in double overtime.
The Flames burned the Wildcats early. UIC defender Thomas Villamil headed a corner kick into the net at the 30 minute mark, while several first-half Wildcat attempts narrowly missed. A bullet by senior Joey Calistri ricocheted off the goalpost, and a Flames defender deftly saved a shot from sophomore Sam Forsgren. But with 25 minutes left in regulation, senior Henry Herrill drilled one down the middle, tying the game with his first goal of the season.
It was tied through regulation and the first half of overtime. Finally, with just six minutes left before a tie, Ozumba got a one-on-one with the Flames' goalkeeper, side-stepped to the left, and handed Northwestern a 2-1 victory on the first goal of his career.
The Wildcats have been outshot all season, allowing the most attempts in the Big Ten, and that didn’t change Tuesday. But NU limited the Flames to low quality, off-target shots.
That defense will be critical when Northwestern hosts Big Ten rival Indiana on Sunday.
Record Watch: Senior Joey Calistri, third on the team all-time scoring list, was held scoreless and remains four goals away from the Northwestern record.
Before the season, Addie Steiner was named a Big Ten Player to Watch. She has spent every game so far making sure no one looks elsewhere. The junior added to her team-leading 10 points, nailing both of Northwestern's goals to lead the 'Cats to a 2-0 victory over the Maryland Terrapins Thursday night.
Rolling from four straight victories, the Wildcats took control from the start. Steiner drilled a header from a Niki Sebo corner to give Northwestern a lead 15 minutes into the match. Northwestern made two other attempts before Maryland got off a shot. It was all that NU goalkeeper Lauren Clem would need. The senior made three saves en route to her seventh shutout of the season, good for second most in the Big Ten. Another Sebo-Steiner combination brought the score to 2-0 with 25 minutes left and put the game firmly out of reach.
The victory keeps the Wildcats undefeated in the Big Ten, but they will face their biggest test Sunday when the perfect 8-0-0 Rutgers come to Chicago. The Scarlet Knights have not surrendered a goal this season and rank second in the nation by the NCAA. Northwestern ranked 26th coming into Thursday, should move up with their victory over Maryland, and could make a serious climb if they can take down Rutgers this weekend.