Men’s Soccer: Northwestern beats Michigan in first conference win


Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Elo Ozumba challenges a defender. The junior forward scored the opening goal for Northwestern as the Wildcats went on to beat Michigan 2-1 in double overtime.

Mariana Alfaro, Web Editor

Men’s Soccer

Northwestern’s seven-game winless streak has been snapped.

Closing Sunday’s game with a game-ending goal in double overtime, the Wildcats (2-6-1, 1-2-1 Big Ten) beat Big Ten rival Michigan (0-6-3, 0-4-0), 2-1. Senior forward Mike Roberge sealed the deal with the 107th minute goal, giving NU its first conference win of the season.

The Wolverines generated 10 shots in the first half, with four on frame. But the Cats struck first with a goal off a corner kick scored by junior forward Elo Ozumba in the 28th minute.

Sophomore midfielder Camden Buescher served up a ball that senior defender Nathan Dearth headed toward Ozumba, who finished for a 1-0 NU lead. It was Ozumba’s second goal of the season, following a goal in a loss against Wisconsin earlier this month, and the Cats’ fourth goal in conference play this year.

“The last time I scored we didn’t end up winning so it was a little bit of a rain on my parade,” Ozumba said. He added that scoring in a win “ just feels so much sweeter.”

Ozumba’s speed up front troubled the Wolverines’ defense, helping give NU the upper hand in the first half of the game. The Cats produced several scoring chances, including in the fifth minute when a Roberge header narrowly missed the net.

Roberge said the team benefitted from a high-pressure approach which it started working on during its last game, a loss to DePaul.

“We started getting more chances off of that so we were able to get a little higher in the field,” Roberge said. “It really helped us relieve a lot of pressure and get some more times on goal.”

NU was playing well throughout the first half and into the second, but it couldn’t increase its advantage, and Michigan midfielder Robbie Mertz tied the game in the 56th minute with a finish off a rebound from a Cats save.

After Mertz’ goal, both teams failed to score for the remainder of the second period, leading to two overtime periods. It was the third time this season NU has been forced to play overtime.

From the start of extra time, the Cats were the better team, creating several good chances to pull out the win. NU coach Tim Lenahan highlighted Ozumba’s play, as the forward applied major pressure to Michigan’s defense.

“It’s a tight, tight game so I thought we were able to get some chances on the overtime,” Lenahan said.

However, it was Roberge who got revenge on his four previous failed shots after he closed the game with his first goal of the season. Senior midfielder Drew Rosenberg kicked the ball off the set piece to the far side of the box to Dearth, who in turn passed it towards the net where Roberge found it and scored the game-winning goal.

Lenahan was happy with the result, saying the team would focus on celebrating this victory before setting its mind on its match against No. 1 Maryland on Friday.

“We’re going to enjoy this one,” he said. “It’s been a month since we won a game, the longest stretch in 15 years, so we’re going to enjoy this one and then we’ll worry.”

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