Women’s soccer: Tough Big Ten games in store on road trip

Nina Mandell

It’s a weekend where anything can happen for the Northwestern women’s soccer team as the Wildcats hit the road for a whirlwind trip to No. 19 Ohio State and No. 3 Penn State. Junior Kate Ghidinelli just hopes the breakfast buffet is up to par.

“Hotels, you can rate them on their buffet breakfast,” she said as her eyes lit up with the memory of a fabulous breakfast in Georgia. “The better the hotel is, the better breakfast.”

But the Cats will need more than some good muffins to make their weekend.

After wins over Iowa and Minnesota last weekend, the players said they are fully capable of beating anyone in the conference if they play to their potential.

But while Minnesota and Iowa are holding steady at the bottom of the Big Ten standings, Penn State is in first place with a 5-0 record, and the Buckeyes’ 2-0-3 record puts them one spot above the fifth-place Cats.

Players said things could get exciting off the field as well as they fly to the sights of their weekend matchups.

There may be no getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, pictures on every state line, or diets full of gas station grub, but the team said a road trip is still a road trip. Junior Julie Lipinski said teamwork comes into play off the field as well to deal with less-than-sanitary hotel conditions.

“Sometimes we’ll stay at places where we sleep in sweats because we don’t know what’s going on with the sheets,” she said. “We have like a phone tree that goes around (if someone finds something) and everyone puts on their sweats before they hop into bed.”

It’s not just the sheets that sometimes make hotels a little creepy for the team. Lipinski said during a roadtrip to Brigham Young University in Utah, she overheard “secret plans for a Mel Gibson movie but with Mormons.”

When they are not searching for strange sheet specimens or avoiding strange guests, the players said they spend most of their time going the movies, hitting the books or hanging out in their hotels. But they manage to make up for missing crazy, fun weekends at NU by creating havoc of their own.

“One time there was a Renaissance wedding-type festival going on in the hotel,” Ghidinelli said. “We all got invited, and we went in our sweats.”

Of course, players miss the comforts of home, the familiar sites, the usual fans and relaxing between game days.

But on the road, win or lose, they can take comfort in knowing they have many admirers.

“We’ll get like random drunk men knocking on our doors,” Lipinski said. “They always want us to come out with them.”

Reach Nina Mandell at [email protected].

NU (7-4-1, 3-2 Big Ten) at No. 19 Ohio State (6-2-3, 2-0-3)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Columbus, Ohio

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NU (7-4-1, 3-2) at

No. 3 Penn State

(9-1-1, 5-0)

When: 11 a.m. Sunday

Where: University Park, Pa.

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Please see Tough, Page 22

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Tough

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