Northwestern keeps B1G title chances alive with thrilling win over Penn State
As the late Yogi Berra would say, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.”
The Northwestern Men’s Soccer team (7-7-2, 4-3-0 B1G) would have made Yogi proud on Sunday. Trailing Penn State 1-0 with 11 minutes to play, the ‘Cats scored two goals and stole the victory from the Nittany Lions, winning 2-1.
Penn State (6-7-3, 2-4-2 B1G) controlled the pace early in the game, taking the lead off a Connor Maloney goal in the 11th minute. The Nittany Lions seemed to have the advantage all day, outshooting the Wildcats 19 to 5.
But, just as all hope was seemingly lost, the ‘Cats struck back.
Playmaking senior Joey Calistri collected the ball in the 79th minute and played a lovely ball ahead to junior Mike Roberge, who struck it first time to the top of the net, putting it past the Penn State keeper Evan Finney and tying the game at one.
Just two minutes later, a NU corner was headed on goal by senior Henry Herrill, but Finney managed to get a hand on it. The Penn State defense tried to clear it off the line but junior Nathan Dearth was in the right place at the right time to deflect the clearance back into the net, giving the ‘Cats a 2-1 lead.
The NU defense would hold on for the last nine minutes of regulation, getting a much-needed win. The Wildcats haven’t finished below .500 since 2002, and a loss today would have ensured a losing record.
The win also keeps the ‘Cats in contention for a Big Ten title. With one game remaining, NU sits at 4-3 in B1G play, tied with Rutgers for second place with 12 points each. At 4-2-1, Ohio State is in first place with 13 points. The ‘Cats have a legitimate chance to snatch the title or at least a share of it, as their final game is against lowly Wisconsin (4-10-3, 1-3-3 B1G) on Nov. 4. If NU wins and Ohio State ties/loses against Michigan, NU is guaranteed a share of the title.
In what hasn’t been the best of seasons for this team, a share of the Big Ten title would be extremely fortunate. With a win that it really should get at Wisconsin on Wednesday, NU will look to achieve that goal and finish its season on a high note.
Women's soccer crashes out of B1G tournament with loss to Michigan
In what has been a dream season for Northwestern's women's soccer team, Sunday afternoon proved to be a wake-up call.
The Michigan Wolverines (12-6-2, 7-3-2 B1G) knocked off the Wildcats (12-5-2, 6-4-1 B1G) in their B1G quarterfinal game by a score of 1-0. The match was was technically a home game for Northwestern, though it was played at New Trier High School while construction at Lakeside Field continues throughout the fall.
The game was a physical one, as neither team was able to generate many scoring opportunities during the first half. Junior Addie Steiner was active in the early going for Northwestern, as she managed to whip a cross to Jennifer Korn that the senior defender put just wide of the goal. Senior Niki Sebo saw another first half scoring oppurtunity thwarted by Michigan goalkeeper Megan Hinz.
After halftime, the Wolverines managed to find the eventual game-winner, as Nicky Waldeck slotted one past Northwestern goalkeeper Laura Clem to give Michigan a 1-0 lead. Despite heightened offensive pressure from the 'Cats down the stretch, NU couldn't find the equalizer as they saw their B1G title run come to an end.
And now comes the stressful part.
Most projections have the Wildcats safely through to the NCAA tournament, but Northwestern won't know their fate until after the conference tournaments wrap up. The 'Cats finished the regular season 4th in the B1G with their best conference record in school history.