Women’s Soccer: Northwestern still looking for first conference win


Melody Song/The Daily Northwestern

Sophomore Jackie Alyinovich and the Wildcats are 0-6 in the Big Ten. The conference losing streak includes four straight shutouts.

Rebecca Friedman, Reporter

Just more than halfway through their Big Ten schedule, the Wildcats have not generated the success they had anticipated based on their non-conference slate and improvement from last season.

After a 2-0 loss to then-No. 23 Michigan last weekend, Northwestern’s (4-8-2, 0-6-0 Big Ten) frustration reached a season high, and the team suffered its fourth-straight shut out.

“We had a lot of long faces today,” coach Michael Moynihan said after the match against the Wolverines. “We haven’t won in conference yet and no one likes losing.”

Although the Cats weren’t as technically sound as the Wolverines, Moynihan acknowledged improvement in NU’s mental game.

“We had a different, much improved mentality,” Moynihan said. “It was the hardest the midfielders worked in terms of tracking and recovering. The defenders were making better decisions.”

NU faces off against Wisconsin on Friday in Madison. The Badgers (8-5-1, 1-4-1) have also had difficulty in the competitive Big Ten, mustering only one win.

Last season, the Cats battled back from a 1-0 deficit to tie the Badgers 1-1. The team is hoping for a similar result this year. Moynihan and his players believe that as long as NU continues to improve, the wins will come.

“We have a lot to build on,” Moynihan said. “We just have to keep working and hopefully things will start falling into place.”

The Cats then travel to Minnesota to battle the Golden Gophers (7-6-1, 2-3-1) Sunday. NU will need to focus on shutting down Minnesota’s sophomore forward Taylor Uhl, the Big Ten leader in goals, assists and points.

“We need to try and read balls better,” sophomore defender Jackie Alyinovich said.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Cats are trying to find a way to get out of the scoring funk they’ve been in over the past few weeks.

“We’re going to try and work the ball forward more,” junior forward Kate Allen said. “We’re going to continue to work on our finishing and we’re going to have to figure out some way to create more opportunities.”

The Cats only had a handful of such chances against Michigan.  In order to find offensive relief, NU will have to possess the ball much more in the opponents’ end. The forwards will also have to figure out how to finish off serves and centers from the outside.

“We aren’t good enough yet,” Moynihan said. “We don’t have the technical ability or decision making to lead to the final product.”

Despite the tough season, the Wildcats have kept their heads up and continue to work on improving for next year.

“I think we can learn how to keep our integrity and pride in the school and we need to,” Allen said. “I know it’s discouraging, but I think we can learn a lot from each other if we continue to push through the season.”