Women’s Soccer: Northwestern preps for big weekend


Daily file photo by Mackenzie McCluer

Leading the Wildcats in goals and taking nearly triple the amount of shots this season as any of her teammates, senior forward Kate Allen heads the Northwestern offense on all fronts. She crawls further up the program charts each game, currently ranked third with 21 career goals.

Bobby Pillote, Reporter

Northwestern looks to rebound this weekend as it tries to pick up its first conference win.

Coach Michael Moynihan said the Wildcats’ eyes are still focused on the Big Ten Tournament, despite three consecutive losses since the conference slate began. In its most recent outings, NU came up short at home, falling to both Nebraska and Iowa by a single goal.

Junior midfielder Sami Schrakamp had three shots on goal against the Hawkeyes and has two assists this season. She said the Cats have room for improvement to shore up gaps in their game.

“We really need to work on holding the ball, stringing our passes together and just finishing those final opportunities,” she said. “We really need to focus on those little final pieces.”

Schrakamp only has 1 goal on the season, against Oakland back in September.  Her two assists came against Penn State and Western Illinois.

After allowing 6 goals over the past three games, NU (2-7-2, 0-3-0 Big Ten) also looks to get better on defense.

“Our defense continues to be a bit more cohesive, more solid,” Moynihan said. “We’ve got a young back line.”

NU has a tough road game Friday against Indiana (8-2-1, 1-2-0), which is undefeated in six home games this season. The Hoosiers look to even their Big Ten record after a loss to then-No. 8 Penn State last Saturday.

Things won’t get any easier for NU on Sunday, as the team travels to Purdue (6-4-1, 1-2-0) to face a team hot off its first conference win against Ohio State.

In light of the challenges facing the team, Moynihan remains optimistic.

“We just got to keep after it, every day striving and we’ll get there,” he said. “Our goal is to make the Big Ten Tournament. It’s tougher for us now. But it’s still there for us.”

The Cats had a strong showing in their first conference match against then-No. 9 Penn State, falling 3-2 to the Nittany Lions in a difficult double-overtime loss. NU struggled in its next two games, only scoring 1 goal despite out-shooting Nebraska and Iowa by a combined 43-21.

With NU facing a tough conference schedule the rest of the season, this weekend is an important step for a team still set on the postseason.

“This is a huge weekend for us,” Moynihan said. “We really have to come away from this weekend with something. It’s a big one that we’ve got to get ready for.”

The Cats also played the Hoosiers and Boilermakers last season, falling to both teams 1-0. Continuing to get better on offense is a key part of NU’s game plan. The Cats have only scored a combined 5 goals across seven losses this season.  In both games last year, current leading scorer Kate Allen only had one shot on goal.  This season, the senior forward leads the team with 26 shots on goal.

“We gotta find our positives when they’re not showing up in the results column … to keep moving forward,” Moynihan said.

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