You can’t win if you can’t score. That proved to be all too true for the No. 20 ‘Cats, who fell 1-0 in overtime to the Loyola Ramblers Thursday night. The upset marked the Wildcats’ (7-3-5) third loss of the season, all three of which have been shutouts. The Ramblers improved to 6-4-5 on the year and remain undefeated (6-0-2) at home.
Possession, though, told a different story than the final tally. Scoring opportunities came early and often for Northwestern, yet they scarcely came at all for Loyola. Sophomore Brandon Medina got the first shot in the 15th minute, dodging two defenders before narrowly missing wide on a low shot from the top of the box. Then in the 39th minute, junior Cole Missimo drilled a pass to Freshman Elo Ozumba, who’s shot was off target. The Ramblers would not get a shot until 12 minutes into the second half.
Halftime provided only a short respite. Freshman Sam Forsgren ripped a shot in the 47th minute and Missimo did the same in 54th. Both missed. The ‘Cats last opportunity came in the 60th minute, when a passing combination by Forsgren and junior Joey Calistri got the ball to Jeffrey Hopson, who laced a kick from the 15-yard line. Caught. Ramblers Keeper Tim Dobrowolski notched his first of two saves on the game.
Loyola mustered a couple tries in regulation: a shot nabbed by Wildcats senior netminder Tyler Miller and a header that went wide. However at the end of 90 minutes, the score remained tied at zero.
Missimo, the team’s leading scorer, almost gave the ‘Cats a ‘W’ halfway through overtime. Eluding a defender, he broke into Loyola’s box, only to have a potential assist broken up by a sprinting Rambler.
Loyola charged the other way. With less than two minutes left in overtime, Brien Bemment slammed a bouncing ball past Miller, giving Loyola a surprise victory.
Northwestern will head home to Lakeside Field, where they will host Penn State Sunday before concluding their regular season against Wisconsin on the Nov. 5.