Women’s Soccer: After surprise tournament bid, Wildcats to take on Penn State


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Freshman midfielder Kim Jerantowksi and the Wildcats soared into the Big Ten Tournament with a strong close to the season. Northwestern plays No. 1 Penn State on Wednesday.

Taylor Sheridan, Reporter


In an exciting turn of events, Northwestern earned the eighth spot in the Big Ten tournament when it won its last conference game against Minnesota on Saturday.

The Wildcats (8-7-4, 4-6-3 Big Ten) will face top seed Penn State (17-2-0, 12-1-0) on Wednesday. The tournament will be hosted at Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana. 

“I think mentally we have been preparing for this game since our season started,” junior captain and midfielder Nandi Mehta said. “We managed to pull it out from a lot of perseverance.”

The Cats and Nittany Lions have faced off once already this season resulting in a score of 4-1 favoring Penn State.

“I was very impressed with Penn State the first time we played them,” coach Michael Moynihan said. “There was a lot of things we could have done better.”

Penn State and NU are both coming off winning streaks of five games and two games, respectively.

Penn State leads the conference with goals scored per game at 2.42, while the Cats are 11th in the conference with an average of 1.16. Both teams have strong defensive showings; the Nittany Lions are ranked third in the conference for goals allowed per game and NU is ranked fifth.

NU’s freshman goalkeeper Lauren Clem ranks third in the conference in shutouts with a total of eight this season. Clem’s record is a testament to her abilities as a goalie and her defensive line’s ability to defend the goal to allow fewer shots. Clem and the NU defensive line will have to continue their impressive play in the game Wednesday to defeat the offensively strong Nittany Lions.

“We can be a lot stingier in our defense,” Moynihan said. “I like our chances.”

The Cats have been creating a lot of offensive chances but are having trouble converting these chances into goals. In their last game against Minnesota, they had 20 total shot attempts but failed to convert until the second overtime.

“We have been working a lot on finishing,” Mehta said. “Our defending has been solid all year. They are a very, very good team. I like where we are right now as the underdogs. It’s always a good thing,”

Despite NU’s challenge in facing Penn State, Moynihan said he is confident the team can at least compete with the Nittany Lions.

“Our goal is to win and advance,” Moynihan said.

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