Women’s Soccer: Wildcats qualify for Big Ten Tournament on overtime goal

Taylor Sheridan, Reporter


The Wildcats (8-7-4, 4-6-3) clinched the No. 8 spot in the Big Ten tournament Saturday, beating Minnesota (10-8-1, 7-5-1) 1-0 in overtime on a goal from freshman forward Michelle Manning.

Maryland’s 1-0 loss to Penn State on Thursday put the Cats in a favorable position for the last spot.

Northwestern’s game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but due to the severe weather it was moved to early Saturday afternoon.

Both teams got off to a slow start in the first half with only one shot attempt by the Gophers and four by the Cats.

The NU defense continued its strong play, limiting almost all of Minnesota’s offensive chances. In fact, freshman goalie Lauren Clem did not record an official save, which can be attributed to the Cats’ tough defense. The Cats’ offense also played strong, having 20 total shot attempts and forcing Minnesota sophomore goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs to make nine saves.

The intensity picked up in the second half with the Cats feeling the desperation to get points on the board since only a win could advance them to the Big Ten tournament. NU had seven shot attempts but failed to score in regulation, resulting in overtime.

NU dominated during overtime, outshooting the Gophers 9-0. The Cats kept the Minnesota defense busy, spending the majority of overtime play in the Gophers’ territory.

“It’s amazing how many chances we came up with,” coach Michael Moynihan said. “It was one of our freshmen who came in and had a beautiful shot.”

The Cats delivered in second overtime. Manning scored the winning goal for the Cats with just 3:30 left on the clock. Her goal ended the game and secured the Cat’s the eighth spot in the Big Ten tournament.

“We have been working hard all season,” Manning said after the win. “Penn State is up first. We are going to prepare for that, then go from there.”

The Cats are excited to move forward and play in the Big Ten tournament, which is an unexpected outcome for this team. This NU team made a strong turnaround in the back half of the season, climbing from the bottom of the conference up to clenching the eighth and last spot in the tournament.

“This is a huge deal for… us (seniors) left,” senior Georgia Waddle said. “We are in the tournament, and we earned it for sure.”

Email: [email protected]northwestern.edu