Men’s Soccer: Northwestern manages tie against second-ranked Notre Dame

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Men’s Soccer: Northwestern manages tie against second-ranked Notre Dame

Midfielder Cole Missimo scored the equalizing goal in the 50th minute of the Cats’ 1-1 tie with Notre Dame, the country’s No. 2 team. It was a timely moment for the sophomore’s first career goal.

Midfielder Cole Missimo scored the equalizing goal in the 50th minute of the Cats’ 1-1 tie with Notre Dame, the country’s No. 2 team. It was a timely moment for the sophomore’s first career goal.

Susan Du/Daily Northwestern

Midfielder Cole Missimo scored the equalizing goal in the 50th minute of the Cats’ 1-1 tie with Notre Dame, the country’s No. 2 team. It was a timely moment for the sophomore’s first career goal.

Susan Du/Daily Northwestern

Susan Du/Daily Northwestern

Midfielder Cole Missimo scored the equalizing goal in the 50th minute of the Cats’ 1-1 tie with Notre Dame, the country’s No. 2 team. It was a timely moment for the sophomore’s first career goal.

Enrique Perez, Reporter

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The Wildcats battled for 110 minutes Tuesday to emerge with a tie against a top-ranked foe.

No. 16 Northwestern held No. 2 Notre Dame to a dramatic 1-1 draw in South Bend, Ind

The Cats (8-3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) have gotten the best of the Fighting Irish (7-0-5) these past few years.  Most recently, NU grinded out a victory against the Irish in last year’s clash, which ended 2-1 at Lakeside Field. Current senior midfielder Lepe Seetane and sophomore forward Joey Calistri both scored in that game.

The weather made its presence felt throughout this showdown, as the entire pitch was drenched by rain. Although both teams had to take the elements into account, the game went on undeterred.

“The surface was actually quite beautiful,” coach Tim Lenahan said. “You were able to play on the ground some flat balls. It was a little bit slick when you tried to play through balls and things like that, but other than that, I don’t think it had too much of an impact on the game.”

The opportunities came early and often for the Irish with defender Max Lachowecki and forward Harrison Shipp wreaking havoc on the field. Shipp in particular got off some quick shots that came from outside the box.  On the flanks, Lachowecki sent in menacing crosses that troubled the Cats’ defense throughout the night.  Lachowecki helped produce Notre Dame’s goal in the first half.

With Notre Dame streaking down the soaked field, a sharp, low cross skidded across the box and found Lachowecki, who barely beat out an NU defender before it was cleared.  The timing was perfect, as he beat junior goalkeeper Tyler Miller to deny him another clean sheet in the 37th minute.

With the Cats trailing, the Irish continued to press up. It was up to the defense to collectively reject any other threats. The defense bent but refused to break throughout the game, with the exception of the goal.

Solid defensive play opened the doors for NU to counter and create opportunities of its own. Seetane came close to equalizing in the first half but was stifled by Notre Dame’s defense.  Few options came again for the Cats.  They were eventually outshot 22-6 during the game.

True to the style of NU’s play, it made the most of its opportunities.  Efficiency has been signature in the style of the Cats’ offense. When it arrived, the goal was not only efficient but also sensational and special.

Sophomore midfielder Cole Missimo brought both teams level when he put on a masterful dribbling display to avoid Irish defenders in the box. He centered his shot well enough to fire it into the back of the net. Missimo couldn’t have picked a better time to score his first goal of his collegiate career, tying the game 1-1.

“We’ve been working on cutting in on runs,” Missimo said. “We tried to hit the top of the box, and that’s how it worked out. Finally, we connected and got lucky to get it past a couple of guys to put it in the back of the net.”

The game went into overtime with both teams leaving it all out on the pitch. Junior defender Grant Wilson epitomized the team’s defensive resiliency when he headed out a shot at goal that would have ended the game at the end of the first period of overtime.

“I know a couple of guys came off the line to save the goal, so we just did anything we could to keep the ball out of the goal,” Wilson said.

NU now prepares for a weekend matchup against Big Ten conference rival Ohio State on Sunday. The Cats will try to perform better than when they suffered a loss to Michigan State earlier in the season.

Email: enriqueperez2015@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @EPerez1792

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