Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Women’s Soccer: From torture to triumph, Northwestern finally wins first Big Ten game

For weeks, the Wildcats insisted that a few mental mistakes are the difference between a winning season and their actual 1-11 start.

On Saturday, the mistakes disappeared and the team finally got the bounce it’s been looking for as it defeated Michigan 1-0 for its first Big Ten win of the season.

“The game just bounced our way,” coach Stephanie Foster said.

After a rough season consisting of seven one-goal losses, the Cats (2-11-0, 1-5-0 Big Ten) finally found themselves on the winning side of a close game.

“We just came out with a different energy,” sophomore forward Kate Allen said. “You could tell we just really wanted to win.”

Despite Michigan’s 18-8 advantage in shots, Northwestern struck early in the second half and made its goal stand with outstanding defense and timely goalkeeping.

Thirteen minutes into the second stanza, sophomore defender Nicole Jewell took a throw-in near the Wolverines’ goal. The ball deflected off the head of Michigan midfielder Courtney Mercier and into the net for a NU goal.

The score marked the Cats’ third goal in six Big Ten contests and snapped a scoreless streak that lasted nearly 200 minutes. NU has scored one goal or less in all but two games this season.

With a one-goal lead and more than 30 minutes left to play, the Cats relied on solid defending and strong goalkeeping from freshman Anna Cassell, who replaced sophomore goalkeeper Sam Hatfield near the end of the first half.

“Kind of like ‘Hattie’ stepped up (last week against Indiana), Anna stepped up today, ” Foster said.

A Michigan (8-4-2, 3-2-1) free kick in the 89th minute nearly derailed NU’s upset bid. However, Cassell knew the significance of the game and proved that she was up for the challenge with her third save of the game.

“They weren’t going to score,” Cassell said. “I was thinking, ‘I can’t let this ball go in. We have to win this game.’ I didn’t really think as much about the score. I just focused on making the save.”

As host of the Big Ten Tournament this year, the Cats are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. With newfound confidence that they can beat a team of Michigan’s caliber, NU is looking to gain momentum before the start of tournament play on Nov. 2.

“We need to keep working hard and playing with heart and courage,” Cassell said. “The rest of the season is going to be full of great things for us. We have to keep pushing to make this a regular thing.”

But for now, the team is satisfied knowing that this is a step in the right direction.

“We played some good soccer,” Foster said, “but we mostly had to defend hard against a Michigan team that threw everything at us. Anyone who has followed us this season knows we can get this kind of result. It’s a huge win on the road any season, but it is crucial this season.”

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Women’s Soccer: From torture to triumph, Northwestern finally wins first Big Ten game