Men’s Soccer: Cats look to bounce back against Northern Illinois

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Men’s Soccer: Cats look to bounce back against Northern Illinois

Midfielder Lepe Seetane is one of the Cats’ most experienced players. The senior scored his first goal of the season Sunday, but NU suffered its second straight overtime loss. Northern Illinois visits Evanston on Wednesday as the Cats attempt to end that streak.

Midfielder Lepe Seetane is one of the Cats’ most experienced players. The senior scored his first goal of the season Sunday, but NU suffered its second straight overtime loss. Northern Illinois visits Evanston on Wednesday as the Cats attempt to end that streak.

Susan Du/Daily Senior Staffer

Midfielder Lepe Seetane is one of the Cats’ most experienced players. The senior scored his first goal of the season Sunday, but NU suffered its second straight overtime loss. Northern Illinois visits Evanston on Wednesday as the Cats attempt to end that streak.

Susan Du/Daily Senior Staffer

Susan Du/Daily Senior Staffer

Midfielder Lepe Seetane is one of the Cats’ most experienced players. The senior scored his first goal of the season Sunday, but NU suffered its second straight overtime loss. Northern Illinois visits Evanston on Wednesday as the Cats attempt to end that streak.

Bobby Pillote, Reporter

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Northwestern looks to recover as it faces off against Northern Illinois on Wednesday at Lakeside Field.

The No. 14 Wildcats (7-3-0, 1-1-0 Big Ten) are coming off consecutive overtime losses to Bradley and Michigan State and hope to get their season back on track against a struggling Huskies (3-7-0, 0-1-0 MAC) squad.

NU fell to Northern Illinois last year, 1-0, in another overtime loss.

“They beat us last year,” coach Tim Lenahan said. “And we beat them the year before, and they beat us the year before. It’s always a tough game.”

Cats senior midfielder Lepe Seetane had one shot on goal last year against the Huskies. After scoring his first goal of the season Sunday against the Spartans, Seetane should be a key player in driving NU’s attack on Wednesday.

“We got a good day of rest and a good day of practice,” he said. “We have the mindset that we’ve lost two games in a row, and we don’t want to lose a third one. … The game is at home, and we should take advantage of that.”

The Cats contended defensively Sunday, giving up 3 goals for the second straight game. Junior goalkeeper Tyler Miller set a career high with 10 saves, but NU was ultimately overwhelmed by Michigan State’s relentless offense.

Senior defender Scott Lakin made his first start of the season Sunday for the Cats. Lakin was vital in holding the Spartans scoreless in the first half and hopes to continue his strong defensive effort against the Huskies.

“We took a look at the film,” Lakin said, “and recognized some clear mistakes we made. Obviously giving up 3 goals two games in a row is not what we want to do. What we pride ourselves on is keeping teams to zero.”

Northern Illinois has struggled this year, winning only three times through 10 games. The Huskies have also lost their last two matches, 2-0 to Michigan State on September 28, and 4-0 to West Virginia on Saturday. The team is weakest on offense, having scored just 10 goals on the season.

For NU, the game serves as a reprieve from its conference schedule and a chance to pick up a win at home, where the Cats are 2-3-0 this season.

“We’re going to try and lock it down a little bit better defensively,” Lenahan said. “We’re playing a little bit too open, and defense comes from discipline.”

Sophomore forward Joey Calistri, NU’s leading scorer with 10 goals so far this season, had four shots on goal Sunday against the Spartans but was unable to find the back of the net. Calistri will face a tough challenge from Northern Illinois starting goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser, who has amassed an impressive 35 saves through eight games this year.

For the Cats, the focus remains squarely on improving with every game.

“It’s not worrying about what we did wrong,” Lenahan said. “It’s correcting what we did wrong. … You’re constantly correcting.”

Email: RobertPillote2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @BobbyPillote

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