Injuries force forfeit after ‘dangerous play’

David Morrison

Perhaps because of a recent rash of injuries, only 17 men’s club rugby players boarded the bus taking the team to its conference tournament at Northern Illinois last Sunday.

In a sport that requires 15 players on a side, two substitutes allows little room for error.

The Wildcats would have to be careful to perform well if they wanted to survive the Chicago Area Rugby Football Union Cup.

Northwestern began the tournament by facing DePaul, which had beaten the Cats the week before.

The Blue Demons were forced to forfeit the game thanks to the bane of sports teams everywhere: a paperwork mishap.

The two sides played anyway to help the Cats warm up for their next opponent, the tournament host.

With a berth in the Midwest regional tournament on the line, the Huskies came out with their hackles raised.

“There was some pretty dangerous play,” club president Daniel McDonell said. “There were some high tackles, and the refs weren’t calling it.”

After the first half, injuries reduced the Cats’ ranks to 12 players, not enough to field a team, causing NU to forfeit. Despite its tribulations, NU finished fourth in the tournament.

The women’s club enjoyed similar success.

After easily winning their first CARFU Cup game, the Cats squared off against an Illinois-Chicago side that defeated them narrowly earlier in the season.

The match was a war of attrition, with neither team scoring until late in the game. Illinois-Chicago scored in the last two minutes, which proved to be the only points awarded.

Bowling over

The men’s soccer club made the approximately 300-mile trek to Mt. Pleasant, Mich., for a pair of games at Central Michigan last weekend.

In its first game, NU demolished Bowling Green, 3-0. Sophomore Octave Lapeyronie, freshman Toku Sakai and junior Jon Adams each notched their first goals of the season. The Cats also lost a tight match to Central Michigan, 1-0.

“We definitely should have beaten them,” club president Matt Cozza said, “but the weather was horrible and it was the second game of the day. People were tired.”

Last weekend’s results put the Cats’ record at 4-4-2, which leaves them right in the middle of the league standings.

With good performances in two road games this weekend, the club could find itself in the regional playoffs at the end of the month.

Experience helps

The women’s soccer club didn’t have to travel quite as far as the men’s squad last weekend — just to Lakeside Field — to take on Illinois-Chicago and Bradley.

Illinois-Chicago is fielding a soccer club for the first time this year, so the Cats did not know what to expect.

NU club president Hillary King said she was impressed with the fledgling Illinois-Chicago team’s skill, but the more experienced NU side dominated possession and kept the ball in Flames territory for the majority of the game.

The result was a 3-0 triumph.

The Cats followed that victory with a game against Bradley, which historically plays them tight. The Braves were no match on this day, however, losing 5-0 — their worst defeat at the hands of NU.

The two wins improve the Cats’ record to 3-2.

For the weekend, sophomore Zen Enwemwka led the goal scorers with two, and six other players each recorded one.

Loyola and Western Michigan come to Evanston this Friday and Saturday.

“Loyola is usually on the same level as Bradley,” King said. “(Western Michigan) is always a close game. They’re one of our biggest rivals, and I expect a good game.”

Reach David Morrison at [email protected]