Cats get 1st Big Ten win but can’t sweep weekend (Woman’s Soccer)

David Morrison

It certainly looked like the Wildcats’ fortunes were changing.

After blanking Indiana (6-8-1, 2-5-0 Big Ten), 1-0, for its first Big Ten win Friday, Northwestern (8-7-1, 1-6-1) pulled even with No. 23 Purdue (10-5-0, 6-1-0) with less than four minutes to go in Sunday’s game, forcing overtime.

Forward Krystal Patterson controlled the ball after it had been loose in the box and passed outside to midfielder Jeanette Lorme, who lofted a shot into the upper left corner of the goal.

“It was amazing,” Lorme said. “I was so excited for the team because it gave us some momentum.”

This momentum led to two near goals off of corner kicks, but the Cats fell to the Boilermakers, 2-1.

One of the close attempts came with 10 seconds left in regulation and the other in the first minute of the first overtime period.

But the team’s habit of giving up late goals struck again.

Only 1:24 into the second overtime period, Boilermaker forward Lauren Sesselmann controlled a cross from a teammate and volleyed the ball past goalie Whitney Jones.

“We froze,” coach Jenny Haigh said. “We didn’t step to the ball. We stepped to the ball all game except for one play.”

The Cats got their scoring done early against the Hoosiers on Friday.

In the 24th minute, midfielder Kelly Sitkowski drew the Hoosiers’ defense away from the goal with a drop to Lorme, who saw room between Patterson and the goalkeeper and lobbed the ball into the open area.

“I saw there was a space between me and the goalie and I was just hustling to get there and get any kind of surface on it,” Patterson said.

Patterson nudged the ball past the keeper and gave the Cats’ the only goal they would need.

Haigh said the timing of the goal let the team sub out a forward and play an extra defender.

The extra defender paid off, as the Cats gave up only four shots on goal and none in the last 10 minutes, and Haigh said she saw marked improvement in the defense’s ability to cut down on spaces and seams.

“It was an ugly game, but we’ll take the result,” she said. “We’ll take an ugly game.”

Lorme had a hand in both NU goals last weekend and has either scored or assisted on eight of the Cats’ last 12 goals.

While only a freshman, she leads the team with six assists and is second in points, with 14.

“(Lorme’s) just such a complete soccer player,” Haigh said. “She defends really well so she ends up stripping players in dangerous areas. She’s hungry for the ball.”

After going winless for their first six Big Ten matches, the Cats said they were excited to finally notch a conference win.

“It was about due and we deserved it,” Patterson said.

But this feeling was absent from the field after Sunday’s loss.

Even though Friday’s win moved NU into a tie for ninth place with Wisconsin, they still sit two points behind Indiana for the last spot in the Big Ten tournament.

The Cats’ last two conference games are against Wisconsin and Ohio State, two teams near the bottom of the conference standings.

“We have to win to stay alive,” Haigh said. “(NU, Wisconsin and Ohio State are) all going to be urgent for wins.”

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