Last year, Indiana knocked Northwestern out of the Big Ten Tournament in the first consolation round. Now the Wildcats are back, and they have not forgotten about last time.
In the post-season, Indiana dashed any NU hopes of advancing in the Big Ten Tournament by upsetting the Cats 4-0, seemingly payback for when they wiped the floor with the Hoosiers 4-0 three weeks prior.
“I think we’re definitely going to use (the loss) as fuel,” senior midfielder Julia Retzky said. “I think we all remember that four to zero loss and take it to heart and play with everything we’ve got.”
In that loss to IU last November, the Cats dominated the shots statistic with 17, seven of those on goal. Although NU ran the table, the Hoosiers were able to get four past goalkeeper Maddy Carpenter throughout the game.
However, the Cats are not focusing on the past.
“We haven’t watched any film on them from last year just because it’s a different team,” senior midfielder Nikki Parsley said. “Obviously we’re disappointed we lost to them last year, and I’m sure it’s going to be on a lot of people’s minds who played last year. But we’re not so much focusing on that, just what they have to bring to the table now.”
The Cats have been on a long break that has been good for the team’s health. .
“We got a nice break with having the weekend off and having some team-builder (exercises), a little bit of running and lot of (penalty) corners,” coach Tracey Fuchs said. “The kids as well as the staff had a little bit of a break, and it really allowed us to get healthy because we were pretty banged up after Penn State.”
NU played Penn State two weeks ago, and the Nittany Lions shut out the Cats for the first time this season. Penn State has been a big game for NU since the two teams usually fight for the top spot in the Big Ten.
“The biggest thing for us was getting some rest and recovery in,” Parsley said. “The coaches were very strategic about the amount of times we had off. We’re well over halfway through our season, and our bodies were pretty banged up coming from Duke, then Michigan, Iowa, then we played Penn State and we were just exhausted.”
For NU, exhaustion is not part of the gameplan. Fuchs said corner execution is the key to winning on Friday.
“Their field is not the same as most,” Fuchs said. “It’s a different brand, so we need to get there Thursday and make sure we take a lot of corners so our stick-stoppers and people who push the ball out are really confident and just playing every minute.”
The last time the Cats played at Indiana, back in 2011, the Hoosiers came out on top 4-1.
Despite the 2011 loss and the 2012 season-ending defeat, NU has beaten IU 10 out of the 16 times they’ve faced off.
“I think playing unselfishly and getting a wide-out goal … shooting for the far post (is our best way of scoring),” said Retzky. “I think their goalie tends to come out a little bit which makes it harder to score, so we have to have our eyes up, and everyone off the ball needs to be communicating to let them know where the open shot is.”
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