Women’s Soccer: Northwestern ends goal drought in loss to Wisconsin

Junior+forward+Bo+Podkopacz+gives+Northwestern+its+first+goal+in+five+matches+during+Friday%27s+game+against+Wisconsin.+The+Wildcats+last+scored+Sept.+9+against+Penn+State.
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Women’s Soccer: Northwestern ends goal drought in loss to Wisconsin

Junior forward Bo Podkopacz gives Northwestern its first goal in five matches during Friday's game against Wisconsin. The Wildcats last scored Sept. 9 against Penn State.

Junior forward Bo Podkopacz gives Northwestern its first goal in five matches during Friday's game against Wisconsin. The Wildcats last scored Sept. 9 against Penn State.

Melody Song/The Daily Northwestern

Junior forward Bo Podkopacz gives Northwestern its first goal in five matches during Friday's game against Wisconsin. The Wildcats last scored Sept. 9 against Penn State.

Melody Song/The Daily Northwestern

Melody Song/The Daily Northwestern

Junior forward Bo Podkopacz gives Northwestern its first goal in five matches during Friday's game against Wisconsin. The Wildcats last scored Sept. 9 against Penn State.

Ariel Yong, Reporter

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The Wildcats scored for the first time in five games over the weekend, but the breakthrough goal just wasn’t enough to get their first conference win.

Northwestern fell 2-1 to Wisconsin (10-5-1, 3-4-1 Big Ten) Friday and was shut out by Minnesota (9-6-1, 4-3-1) 1-0 Sunday.

The Badgers jumped out to an early lead, scoring in less than 10 minutes. Wisconsin’s Cara Walls scored off a throw-in, which coach Michael Moynihan described as “misjudged” by NU defenders. Walls’ second goal came fewer than 15 minutes later.

“The goals were really flukes and lapses by us,” Moynihan said. “We just didn’t take care of things in the defensive part of the field.”

Despite a slow start in the first half, Northwestern came out strong after halftime and shut down the Badgers’ offense. NU did not give up another goal, and freshman goalkeeper Rachel Bergman had a career-high 6 saves.

“(The Badgers) were passing really well around us but our defense was playing really well,” Bergman said. “They (had) my back and I got whatever came my way that they couldn’t get to.”

On the other end of the field, the Cats’ offense was hard at work getting the team back into the game. Although Wisconsin has shut out its opponents six times this season, NU challenged the Badgers’ defense with many good looks and did not let the Badgers record their seventh shutout. In the 71st minute, junior Bo Podkopacz scored her second career goal to put NU within one goal of tying the game.

“I think we all got kind of fired up,” Podkopacz said. “It put a spark under us to come back and get back in the game.”

Junior midfielder Julie Sierks and senior defender Bri Westlund both had good looks late in the game but could not convert.

Although the Cats managed to end their scoring drought against Wisconsin, they did not find the back of the net Sunday against Minnesota. The Cats were shut out for the ninth time this season.

Northwestern did manage to hold Minnesota to only 1 goal, which is well below the Gophers’ average. Minnesota ranks third in the Big Ten in goals scored, averaging 2.06 per game. However, Minnesota forward Taylor Uhl ranks first in the Big Ten in goals and recorded her 16th goal against the Cats in the 77th minute.

“There’s nothing very sophisticated about what they do,” Moynihan said. “They have a very dynamic forward who is very powerful and times her runs very well. Our players adjusted very well. Up until her goal, you wouldn’t have known that she was a threat.”

Like they did Friday, the Cats tried to rally late in Sunday’s second half. Sophomore forward Katie Landgrebe made two good shots, and freshman midfielder Margo McGinty had a one-on-one opportunity with the goalie. Sophomore midfielder Niki Sebo also had a close shot that Minnesota goalkeeper Cat Parkhill ultimately saved.

“I didn’t have a great angle for the shot so the keeper was there,” Sebo said. “I probably should’ve dribbled in or found a different angle.”

Despite the two losses, Moynihan said the Cats are close to being “the better team” and just need to work on their decision making.

“When it comes down to it, we don’t have the courage to get the ball,” Moynihan said. “We need to take the bull by the horns.”

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