Wildcats knock off Badgers

Nina Mandell

After a weekend of two overtimes, neither of which ended predictably, coach Jenny Haigh just wants consistency from her team.

The Northwestern women’s soccer team put forth one of its most consistent efforts of the season, upseting No. 25 Wisconsin 2-1 with an overtime goal by a defender.

Carolyn Hack answered her own prayers against the Badgers (0-2-1 Big Ten, 6-2-1 overall) on Friday. She came up from the back line to knock a ball from Julie Lipinski in the net for the win in the first overtime period.

“When I the ball coming down, I was thinking just don’t kick it over, just don’t kick it over,” Hack said. “When I saw it go in I just thought that it’s amazing that I can do that for my team.”

Tabitha Lowey also gave NU (1-2 Big Ten, 5-4-1 overall) a surprise when she started off NU’s weekend by touching home Kelly Sitkowski’s free kick to put NU up 1-0 at halftime. Lowey’s goal lifted the Cats offense, marking the sixth time in 10 games the Cats have struck in the first half. Haigh said the early goal signaled a much-improved first half for the Cats, who had proven erratic in the opening period through spurts this season.

“We definitely came out stronger in the first half today than we did last weekend,” she said. “It’s a good sign of improvement.”

The win gave the Cats their first Big Ten conference victory and left Haigh ready to take on the conference.

“I hope we realize that any game in the Big Ten is winnable or losable,” she said. “There’s so many good teams in the Big Ten. It’s great to get the job done today and hopefully make that a habit.”

But unranked Drake (4-4-2) stopped the Cats good run with a 1-1 tie and outshot NU 14-4 on Sunday.

NU continued its strong play in the first half of the match with Katie Wright netting the team another first-half goal when she put in a cross from Sitkowski to give the Cats a 1-0 lead that they held on to until the second half.

“We played great, we played hard in the first half,” Haigh said. “But then in the second half we played flat, it was boring and uninspiring.”

A much flatter team let Drake gain momentum on a second half goal with 18:45 remaining. Despite a shot from Kelsey Hans that hit the crossbar in overtime, the Cats couldn’t pull out a victory.

After playing more than two hundred minutes in three days, the team insisted that they weren’t too jittered or fatigued to play their best in overtime. The team pointed to the extra minutes as some of the best play in the match.

“[Overtime] makes it even more exciting just because the last couple of times we had overtime we didn’t come out with a win,” Hack said. “It helps just having that experience and knowing that we need to come out from the beginning and get that goal in right away.”

But on Sunday, experience couldn’t buy the Cats a winning goal or the consistency Haigh was hoping for.

“It was a disappointing tie,” Haigh said. “If we had two first-halves strung together, I think the outcome would have been different.”

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