Northwestern men’s soccer (3-9, 0-5 B1G) got a much needed win on Monday, snapping a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over Western Illinois (4-6, 2-0 Missouri Valley Conference).
This is the first time all season Northwestern has scored more than two goals, as they netted three on 12 shots, including seven shots on goal. Junior Camden Buescher was the star, amassing four points behind a goal and two assists, all of which came in the first half.
Northwestern, who is yet to lose at home this season, finally saw their offense come to life in the first half. Drew Viscomi struck first during the 21st minute when Buescher found him with a long strike from midfield, allowing Viscomi to beat the goalie for his first career goal. Twenty minutes later, Buescher continued to play creator: Chipping a perfect pass into the box, he found Elo Ozumba for Ozumba’s first goal of the season.
Just a few minutes later – and right before halftime – Buescher drew a foul inside the box. Predictably, he nailed the PK to make it 3-0 before the break, giving Northwestern the biggest lead they’ve had in a game all season.
In the second half, the sudden offensive explosion slowed, and – in typical Northwestern fashion – victory appeared much less certain. The ‘Cats had only four shots (compared to eight in the first half), and they failed to get on the board again. Western Illinois, however, stepped up their offensive game. At the 57th minute, WIU’s Drew Whalen rebounded and scored to make it 3-1 after goalie Robbie White made a nice save but couldn’t hang on to the ball.
After a relatively uneventful 20 minutes that included little other than two Western Illinois yellow cards, WIU’s Fernando Pacheco headered in a nice cross to make it a one-score game.
The NU defense remained tough for the final 10 minutes, and the ‘Cats eventually came out with an important win. Even if the opponent wasn’t top-tier, the win streak had to start somewhere if Northwestern wants any chance at considering this a successful season. NU plays DePaul on Wednesday before heading back to Big Ten play against Rutgers and Michigan State next week.