Loss Dampens Coach’s 1st Win In Conference (Women’s Soccer)

By Matt BakerThe Daily Northwestern

Stephanie Erickson’s first Big Ten win in a rain-shortened contest was unforgettable Friday.

The brand-new Northwestern coach’s first Big Ten loss Sunday against Illinois was one she would like to forget.

Sophomore Jeanette Lorme’s goal led the Wildcats (5-5-0, 1-1-0 Big Ten) to a 1-0 victory over the Hawkeyes (4-5-1, 0-2-0) on Friday in the 72-minute match. No. 19 Illinois (6-4-0, 2-0-0) shut out NU on Sunday in its 2-0 win.

NU jumped out to a fast start against Iowa, controlling the game for most of the first half.

Freshman Leigh Jakes, playing in her first collegiate game, drilled a 30-yard strike in the ninth minute. The shot sailed to the top left corner, but Iowa goalie Ali Becker barely deflected it away from the goal to keep the game scoreless.

It was the closest the Cats would come to scoring out of the five shots they had in the half.

The Cats came out strong again in the second half, scoring the game’s only goal in the 53rd minute.

After sophomore Jenny Dunn turned the corner down the right sideline, she centered a pass into the goalie box. The ball popped up to Lorme, who nailed a shot into the back of the net.

“I just tried to get it somewhere near the frame, and it went in,” Lorme said.

Momentum shifted back and forth when a flash of lightning lit up the field in the 72nd minute.

Officials delayed the game as players and fans ran for cover.

Thunderous rain and pea-sized hail poured down during the 90-minute delay.

Both teams returned to the field 15 minutes later, but officials ended the match in the 71st minute due to darkness.

“After the rain delay, we were really fired up and wanted to play,” Lorme said. “We weren’t going to let them back into it.”

Despite the shortened match, Erickson said the elements did not dampen her spirits after the team’s strong effort.

“Any win against a Big Ten team is a big win,” Erickson said.

With a game Sunday against nationally ranked Illinois, the Cats had little time to celebrate.

NU hung with Illinois in a very physical first half., where the Cats earned four fouls.

Two shots – one by junior forward Kelsey Hans and one by freshman Alicia Herczeg – just sailed high past the left corner.

The Cats matched Illinois on shot totals for the game, but it was Illinois who were able to convert.

After an intercepted pass, Illinois forward Chichi Nweke lobbed the ball over NU’s defense to a sprinting Jessica Bayne in the 37th minute. Bayne drilled a shot over NU goalie Lauren Johnston, who unseated three-year starter Whitney Jones early this year, to put Illinois up 1-0.

Despite Johnston’s six saves in the game, NU’s effort lagged in the second half, Erickson said. The Cats gave up loose balls and broke down on both ends of the field.

Bayne added her second goal of the match for Illinois in the 73rd minute to ice the game.

“I thought in the first half we fought really hard and gave them a run for their money,” Lorme said. “But in the second half, we could have showed a little more of ourselves.”

Reach Matt Baker at [email protected]