Women’s Soccer: Wildcats welcome Terrapins and Scarlet Knights for big weekend matchups


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Sophomore midfielder Kim Jernatowski leaps in the air to get a foot on the ball. The Wildcats start a home stand against conference opponents on Thursday when they host Maryland at Toyota Park.

Charlotte Vaziri , Reporter

After a double overtime 1-1 draw against Indiana, the Wildcats are on the hunt as they host Big Ten rivals Maryland on Thursday and Rutgers on Sunday at Toyota Park.

“We felt we had the second (half) in our grasp, so there is some frustration that we only took a point from the game versus Indiana,” coach Michael Moynihan said. “It leaves us going into this weekend, confident and hungry for more wins.”

An even score doesn’t mean an even game: The Cats (7-1-2, 1-0-1 Big Ten) outshot the Hoosiers 20 to 9. They finally capitalized on their offensive domination 90 seconds into the second half. Fifth-year senior Niki Sebo earned the Cats’ lone goal, burying the feed from senior Nandi Mehta with a header into the back of the net. This marked Mehta’s first assist and Sebo’s second goal of the season.

This being their best non-conference start to a season in program history (3-0), the Wildcats will look to carry this momentum into the next two conference games. This weekend will indicate where NU stands in the Big Ten: No. 2 Rutgers defeated Maryland 1-0 last Friday.

The Cats will face stiff competition on both ends of the field against Maryland (5-4-0, 0-1 Big Ten). Defensively, the Terrapins have three Big Ten Players to watch: senior goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands, senior midfielder Sarah Fichtner and senior defender Erika Nelson. The Cats will rely on junior forward Addie Steiner, who leads the team in shots (42) and points (8), to generate pressure on Beanlands, who is tied for the most starts in Maryland’s program history (66) and has allowed 1.09 goals per game in her career (fourth in program history).

Moynihan describes the Terps’s offensive line as “a potent scoring threat that we need to neutralize.” Maryland forward Alex Anthony leads the threat with 6 goals (tied for third in the Big Ten) and four game-winning goals (tied for first in the country).  

“We really expand the field and get a lot of people going forward,” Moynihan said. “We will have to communicate well to deal with the numbers and be committed to defending off the ball.”

The Cats have a quick turnaround for their matchup against No. 2 Rutgers (8-0, 1-0) on Sunday. The Scarlet Knights are just one of three teams in the nation who remain undefeated and boast the longest shutout streak in the country (eight consecutive shutouts).

“They defend very conservatively and deep and then transition very well into the attack,” Moynihan said. “We want to assert ourselves and dictate our style of play, so we will try to do that. We know we will have to be in top form and look forward to the challenge.”

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