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Men’s Soccer: Cats pick up first Big Ten win of the season against powerhouse Maryland

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Junior midfielder Cole Missimo celebrates after his overtime goal gave Northwestern a 3-2 win over Maryland. The victory was the Wildcats’ first in conference play.

Junior midfielder Cole Missimo celebrates after his overtime goal gave Northwestern a 3-2 win over Maryland. The victory was the Wildcats’ first in conference play.

Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

Junior midfielder Cole Missimo celebrates after his overtime goal gave Northwestern a 3-2 win over Maryland. The victory was the Wildcats’ first in conference play.

Julian Gerez, Development and Recruitment Editor

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Northwestern (5-1-4, 1-1-2 Big Ten) dramatically picked up its first conference win of the season against last year’s national runner-up Maryland (3-5-2, 1-2-1 Big Ten) after a 3-2 victory in overtime Sunday. 

Junior midfielder Cole Missimo topped off his two assists by firing in the match-winning golden goal just 66 seconds into overtime. The goal followed some great work by junior forward Joey Calistri at the end line, sliding it back to Missimo, who made no mistake from 12 yards out and won the match for the Wildcats.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” coach Tim Lenahan said. “It’s a great win for the program.”

The Cats got off to a flying start, scoring the first goal of the game — their first goal this season coming in the first 45 minutes of a match — after just three minutes. Sophomore midfielder Brandon Medina played a brilliant ball to Missimo, who whipped a cross into the box, which was put in by junior defender Henry Herrill for his first goal of the year.

NU doubled its lead nine minutes later on a breakaway after an impressive passage of first-touch play, where Missimo and Medina were involved once more. Calistri put the ball into the back of the net from the six-yard box for his fourth goal of the season.

Efficiency was the name of the game for NU in the first half, with their two goals coming from just two shots at the halftime mark.

Then, with 20 minutes left in the first half of the match, the Cats conceded a dubious handball in the box. Junior midfielder Mael Corboz slotted in the penalty to beat senior goalkeeper Tyler Miller.

Maryland really went for the game after that point, and NU was hanging on by a thread. One of the most dangerous chances for Maryland to equalize was actually a clearance by NU senior defender Nikko Boxall that nearly rolled into the back of the net late in the second half.

The Terrapins equalized with just five minutes to go until the end of the match to force overtime, and one could sense that it was coming. Freshman forward Jeroen Meefout scored on a half volley after some scrappy play by Maryland in the box. The overtime-forcing goal was the first allowed by Miller in open play in 522 minutes.

“I said to the guys, ‘Let’s put one away and make this a special day,’” Lenahan said of his end-of-regulation team talk. “I said, ‘Let’s make the win a little more exciting,’ and they certainly did.”

It took less than two minutes for NU to win the match in overtime, with Missimo sliding in the golden goal after some aggressive work by Calistri on the endline. Maryland may have felt that the ball went out of bounds during the assist.

“It was very close to tell, but the ref made a decision, and you have to go with it,” Calistri said of the decision.

The match was a physical one, with both teams fouling each other. The Terrapins looked to cut off the dangerous counterattacks which have characterized the NU game plan since Lenahan became head coach in 2001, and which led to the first two goals.

“It’s a season-changing win for us,” Missimo said.

Email: juliangerez2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @JulianEGerez

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