Women’s Soccer: Seniors get win in home finale

Cameron Zick

A win is a win. But for the seniors, Sunday might have been bittersweet.

Northwestern (8-7-1, 3-4-0 Big Ten) beat Michigan 1-0 at Lakeside Field in the final home game for seniors Jeanette Lorme, Jenny Dunn, Amanda Hoffman and Lauren Janowitsch.

“The seniors have come a long way,” coach Stephanie Erickson said. “They’ve overcome quite a bit of adversity from the coaching change (to) the new culture experience. And they have always embraced it. They just want to win games and they want NU to be successful.”

It was only fitting that NU’s lone goal Sunday was scored by one senior off an assist from another.

In the 56th minute, Lorme juked her defender and sprinted down the sideline, where she crossed a precise pass to the far post. Dunn was in the right place at the right time to volley it in to the top right corner of the goal.

The goal was the 17th of Dunn’s career. With one more, she will move to eighth all-time in school history.

“I think she’s done really well the last few games,” Erickson said. “She’s had a sense of urgency as her senior year career ends. I feel she’s pushing a little bit more to get the ball in the back of the net and she’s had results, as we saw on Sunday.”

Before the score, NU sophomore goalkeeper Carolyn Edwards preserved a scoreless game with a save. She had three saves in the game for her fourth shutout of the season.

Lorme threatened once in the first half but later cashed in with the assist in the second half. NU had a chance to put the game away in the 80th minute but could not capitalize on shots from Hoffman, Lorme and sophomore Sam Greene.

The Cats had 12 shots, seven on goal, compared to five shots from the Wolverines (4-9-4, 1-5-2). Six of the seven shots on goal came from seniors.

NU will play three more games against Big Ten teams to determine its placement in the Big Ten tournament.

To ensure a better seed, Erickson would prefer to see her team come out more aggressively in the first half and get an early lead, rather than relying on a second-half resurgence.

“Getting a lead early and having a multi-goal game will be important for us down the line,” Erickson said. “We started the season that way, but the competition got much tougher because every game is always tight in the Big Ten.”

Starting out slowly on offense hindered the Cats on Friday in a 3-0 loss to Michigan State.

The Spartans (13-4-0, 5-3-0) scored their first goal in the ninth minute and held on until scoring two more in a five-minute span with about 15 minutes to play in the half. NU did not capitalize on opportunities in the first half and could not close the gap or retake momentum playing from behind in the second.

But the weekend ended on a high note for the Cats.

The Michigan win and the seniors’ final home performance represented their commitment to improving the program since Erickson arrived nearly three years ago.

“I’m appreciative of the seniors’ commitment and effort,” Erickson said. “They have embraced everything our staff has tried to do the last two and a half years and they’ve really made an effort to break habits and change the culture of this program. When I arrived, the expectations and standards were lower. You’re not always comfortable not doing what you’re used to. But since then they’ve always tried to make the program better.”

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