If there were any questions about Northwestern’s ability to rebound from an ugly loss to DePaul, the Wildcats answered them in short order on Saturday.
NU (4-4-2, 0-0-1 Big Ten) scored a minute and 42 seconds into its matchup with Missouri State (2-5-2, 0-0-0 Missouri Valley) and never looked back, defeating the Bears 2-0 behind a clean sheet from freshman goalkeeper Tyler Miller, his fifth shutout of the season.
On a cold, windy night at Lakeside Field, junior midfielder Kyle Schickel came out on fire and dealt the first of his two assists to junior forward Nick Gendron, who buried the ball for his first goal of the season.
“We bounced back from the DePaul game pretty well,” Schickel said. “We came out firing in the first half. We needed to get a goal early and get some confidence under us.”
Thirty minutes of dominating play later and the Cats would once again find the back of the net, this time on an unlikely combination.
Sophomore midfielder Lepe Setane came off the bench and used every bit of his 5’2″ frame to take a Schickel assist and head it into the goal.
“Regardless of whether or not I’m coming off the bench, I have to stay ready,” Setane said. “Everybody has to be prepared.”
Coach Tim Lenahan said he was impressed with how Setane scored.
“Great service by Kyle Schickel again on the second goal,” Lenahan said. “And the smallest guy on the field getting a great header.”
At the end of the half, the game took a wild turn on the Bears sideline.
Upset by repeated fouls and a yellow card issued against his team, Missouri State coach Jon Leamy received a red card for yelling at the officials. Things would only get worse for the Bears.
With its coach looking on from outside the stadium, Missouri State piled up three more yellow cards and a red card, playing a man down for the last 22 minutes of regulation.
NU managed to stay above the fray.
“That’s not really our thing,” Lenahan said. “We’re always among the Big Ten leaders in the least amount of fouls and the least amount of yellow cards. That’s kind of our thing. We don’t really get caught up in that stuff. That’s the way they play, that’s their business.”
Despite their outward calm, the Cats were on a mission to erase the DePaul loss from their memory.
“We were a pretty mad team,” Setane said. “We got destroyed last Wednesday, so we came back and really wanted to beat (Missouri State).”