Men’s Soccer: One man up, one goal down, NU forces tie against Michigan State

Dan Ryan

In a twist of fate, Northwestern played the spoiler Saturday night.

For the first time this season, the Wildcats rallied from behind in the second half, settling for a 1-1 draw in double overtime against Michigan State in a game that marked the Big Ten opener for both teams.

As was expected all week, the match was a defensive battle from the get-go. NU (3-3-2, 0-0-1 Big Ten) outshot Michigan State 4-1 in the first half, controlling the ball for the majority of the period and keeping the pressure on a stout Spartans defense, but the Cats failed to score despite their chances.

It was a Michigan State (1-5-2, 0-0-1) red card that sparked the offense.

With 31 minutes remaining in the first half, Spartans defender Ryan Keener was given a red card for a foul on senior forward Oliver Kupe. Three minutes later, Adam Montague stunned the Cats with his first collegiate goal, scoring despite his team being down a man following the red card.

“Obviously when they took the red card and then score right after that, the game opened up a little bit for us,” coach Tim Lenahan said. “We had no choice. We haven’t been behind all year, really.”

Not long after, NU had opportunities of its own to tie the game up. Freshman midfielder Nikko Boxall’s header in the 76th minute went just wide of the goal, and Kupe broke free in the 81st minute and had an excellent look at the goal, but his shot sailed high.

With 2:40 left in regulation, the Cats finally got on the scoreboard, thanks to an unlikely source.

Junior midfielder Kyle Schickel, who was scratched from the starting lineup after turning his ankle during warm-up, gave NU the equalizer and sent the 809 fans at Lakeside Field into a frenzy.

“We gave up a goal and we were up a man, and it’s tough to see that happen,” Schickel said. “So we were just pushing numbers forward, and I guess I’m the little guy so they didn’t pick me up in the box. So I fell free and the ball just came to me.”

Although NU had many chances to come away with the win late in the second half as well as in overtime, the Spartans defense held strong, and the Cats simply ran out of time to score the second goal.

“Not getting the winning goal at the end kind of dampens the mood a little bit,” Kupe said, “because we knew we should have probably grabbed that one and won. But we created a lot of chances. Overall we got a point out of it, so it’s positive.”

“It would be better to see a win when we were up a man for so long,” Schickel added. “But it’s the first time we’ve come back in 10-plus games. So it’s nice to get a result. It’s the Big Ten, so it’s all about results.”

Lenahan, however, bristles at the idea that his team blew its chances.

“We did convert, didn’t we?” Lenahan said. “I thought we scored a goal. Didn’t we score a goal with like two minutes left or something? That’s all you’re trying to get is the one. All those other chances are to get that one.”

NU now takes a short break from its Big Ten schedule. The Cats will hop on the CTA Red Line for their next game, as they take on DePaul (2-5-1, 1-0-0 Big East) in an all-Chicago matchup on Wednesday.

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