Men’s Soccer: Northwestern seeks to maintain momentum


Susan Du/Daily Senior Staffer

Senior Connor Holloway passes the ball during Northwestern’s victory over Saint Mary’s in September. Since then, the Wildcats have snapped their win streak and are working to rebuild another. The midfielder started every match so far this season and has three assists.

Enrique Perez, Reporter

No. 14 Northwestern will try to start a new winning streak as it takes on Southern Illinois Edwardsville.

The Wildcats (8-3, 1-1 Big Ten) clawed their way back into the win column by taking care of business Wednesday night, beating Northern Illinois 1-0 on redshirt senior midfielder Chris Ritter’s header in the 57th minute. Despite having dropped the Big Ten home opener against Michigan State, NU now has a bit of momentum heading into this weekend’s match.

“Last week was pretty tough, losing two overtime games,” senior midfielder Connor Holloway said. “It wears on you physically and mentally. A good win over a good Northern team is always nice, but it never ends. It’s another tough battle Saturday night against SIUE.”

The Cats earned their seventh shutout of the season Wednesday. This can be credited to a consistent lineup, defensive team play and coherent linkage passing. Holloway, for example, has started in the midfield for NU in all 11 games this season.

The Cats’ offense has its work cut out for itself as SIUE (5-5) has had a knack for playing close games. In its last three games, one goal made the difference in each, including a 2-1 Cougars overtime win against Central Arkansas.

“SIUE is a great team, but I think we match up pretty well against them,” junior defender Grant Wilson said. “It’s going to be another tough game at home, but hopefully we can get a win out of it.”

Much like the Cats, the Cougars have earned success in recent years. They posted a 13-7 record last year under the guidance of sixth-year coach Kevin Kalish. They also advanced to the Missouri Valley Conference title game in 2012.

NU is cautious of its upcoming opponent but has made sure to look back at, and learn from, the first half of the season.

“We have to be solid defensively,” coach Tim Lenahan said. “I think that was our main goal last night, to get back to limiting the other team and getting zeroes in the back. Until the last 10 or 15 minutes, we did a pretty good job of that.”

The Cats gave up 6 goals total in their two games prior to the match against NIU. That’s an unsettling statistic, considering they had given up only 1 goal in their seven-game win streak.

“In the two games we lost, we didn’t start very well,” Holloway said. “That was the difference last time.  It’s a Saturday night game and hopefully we get a good crowd. If you can start a game with energy like that, it makes it much easier.”

NU’s home record stands at an even 3-3 with the victory against NIU. The Cougars have played most of their games this season on the road and break even away from home at 3-3. With both teams playing tight games and having even records in terms of game locations, something has to give Saturday night.

“It’s just another big home game,” Wilson said. “Good teams have to win at home, so we need to make sure that we get the win.”

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