Men’s Soccer: Wildcats break losing streak with heroic defensive effort against No. 3 Indiana


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Mike Roberge turns past a defender. The senior forward and the rest of Northwestern’s offense was quiet against No. 3 Indiana as the Wildcats battled to a 0-0 tie.

Mariana Alfaro, Web Editor

Men’s Soccer

For Northwestern, a tie is not always a bad thing.

After a rough start to the season, the Wildcats’ (1-5-1, 0-2-1 Big Ten) defense came up with a strong showing against No. 3 Indiana’s (4-0-3, 1-0-2) potent offense to shut out the Hoosiers on Sunday in a 0-0 double overtime draw.

During the game, NU was outshot 28 to 3, and the defense was forced to absorb significant pressure from Indiana. Senior defenders Nathan Dearth and Willis Griffith put in strong performances, playing all 110 minutes while constantly dealing with offensive threats from the Hoosiers.

Although Indiana had many scoring opportunities, goalkeeper Robbie White only faced six shots on goal during the game, as the Cats’ defense contained the Hoosiers and forced numerous long, low-percentage shots. The redshirt freshman was up to the task in his first career start in goal, saving the shots that came his way.

NU’s offense struggled on the Hoosier’s home field, barely possessing the ball during the game and managing only one shot on goal from senior midfielder Jeffrey Hopson in the 43rd minute.

The lack of scoring chances is troubling for the Cats, who have managed just four goals in the seven games they’ve played this year. The defense was left with a lot of work to do against a Hoosiers team that outshot them 9 to 2 in the first half.

“We knew we were going to face a heavy offense team with Indiana. They were going bring the heat,” Dearth said. “We’ve had these games before … It’s really about bending but not breaking.”

The Hoosiers continued to dominate possession during the final 45 minutes of regulation, firing 17 shots in the frame, though they struggled after that, taking only two shots in 20 combined overtime minutes. Coach Tim Lenahan said he knew going into the game his team was going to face a number of shots from its opponent.

“I knew that Indiana would probably have the ball for big stretches of periods of time, (but) I didn’t think that they would have the ball as much as they did,” Lenahan said. “I thought we would be able to keep it a little bit better, but we knew we would have to absorb some pressure.”

Lenahan said although the game wasn’t one to celebrate on the bus, it also didn’t lead to tears on the way home for NU, who broke a five-game losing streak with the draw.

White echoed the sentiment, saying a tie against the Hoosiers “felt great.”

“Obviously you want to get a win, but a draw against No. 3 is not bad at all,” he said.

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