Women’s Soccer: Wildcats ready for tough road battle at Ohio State


Daily file photo by Leeks Lim

Kassidy Gorman faces off with a defender. The junior midfielder will look to help Northwestern’s stout defense hold off Ohio State’s talented forward corps on Saturday.

Robbie Markus, Assistant Sports Editor

Women’s Soccer

When No. 24 Northwestern travels to Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, it will look to prove it has the talent to hang with some of the nation’s top teams.

After the Wildcats (10-1-0, 3-1-0 Big Ten) fell 2-0 to then-No. 22 Rutgers in their first matchup against a ranked opponent this season, NU gets a second chance to take out a quality conference opponent this weekend.

Ohio State (7-4-1, 1-2-1 Big Ten) comes into the game following a dominant 3-0 win against Iowa, while the Cats also come in off a win, having taken out Maryland 4-1 on Sunday. Although the Buckeyes hold a weaker record thus far, they have played a significantly tougher schedule.

The key matchup is Ohio State’s high-powered offense against NU’s stingy defense. Lindsay Agnew and Nichelle Prince bolster Ohio State’s strong attack.

Agnew most recently scored all three of the Buckeyes’ goals against the Hawkeyes on Sunday, and Prince returned to Columbus this fall capturing a bronze medal with the Canadian national team in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Cats coach Michael Moynihan said NU will have to focus in order to keep these players in check.

“Ohio State has some very dynamic attacking players, very powerful,” Moynihan said. “We really can’t afford to have any lapses or errors in judgement.”

On the other side, the Cats have allowed just four goals through 11 games this season, with half of those goals coming in the loss to the Scarlet Knights. If NU’s defense can hold it down again, one goal might be all it needs — the Cats have already won four games 1-0.

Despite some offensive struggles, NU showed its prowess Sunday by scoring a season-high four goals against Maryland. Freshman forward Maddy Lucas said the team is going to keep that offensive mentality going into Ohio State.

“It’s key to make a really positive aggressive impact early on,” Lucas said. “Take shots, work the ball around the top and hopefully get a goal.”

Even with the loss to Rutgers last weekend, the Cats are still fourth in the conference standings. A win over the Buckeyes would be another step toward a top-four finish in the Big Ten and a home game to open the Big Ten Tournament.

Although the Cats are no longer unbeaten, senior midfielder Maria Grygleski said the Rutgers loss helped the team learn to overcome adversity.

“The way we responded in the second half of the game showed a lot of character and unity,” Grygleski said. “Continuing to face challenges with a positive outlook is really important.”

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