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Women’s Soccer: Wildcats continue slow start, fall to Cincinnati

Lauren+Clem+kicks+the+ball+upfield.+Through+just+five+games%2C+the+senior+goalkeeper+has+already+allowed+more+goals+than+she+did+all+of+last+year%E2%80%99s+regular+season.+
Lauren Clem kicks the ball upfield. Through just five games, the senior goalkeeper has already allowed more goals than she did all of last year’s regular season.

Lauren Clem kicks the ball upfield. Through just five games, the senior goalkeeper has already allowed more goals than she did all of last year’s regular season.

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Lauren Clem kicks the ball upfield. Through just five games, the senior goalkeeper has already allowed more goals than she did all of last year’s regular season.

Charlie Goldsmith, Reporter

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Women’s Soccer


Not only did Northwestern fall to a disappointing 2-2-1 in its non-conference schedule to start the season, the Wildcats lost their first home game since 2015.

NU fell 2-1 to Cincinnati (4-0-1) on Sunday at Martin Stadium as Bearcats senior Julie Gavorski single-handedly outscored the Cats. While the hosts held a 1-0 lead at halftime, they could not recover from Cincinnati’s comeback.

“It’s painful,” coach Michael Moynihan said. “It was there for us to win and (it’s) frustrating that we didn’t.”

The 2-2-1 start is an unexpected turn for the reigning Big Ten Champions, who were undefeated last year in non-conference play. The Cats only allowed five goals in last year’s regular season, and only one to a non-conference opponent.

In only five games this year, NU has already allowed six goals. Gavorski’s two goals on Sunday are nearly half of last season’s total.

Gavorski gave the Bearcats the lead in the 79th minute after Cincinnati freshman Sophie Gorman beat a defender and passed to Gavorski, who was open right in front of the goal. Her one timer put the Cats away, a breakdown senior goalkeeper Lauren Clem and junior defender Kayla Sharples both attributed to confusion.

Playing an unfamiliar formation without key junior defender Hannah Davison, who was sidelined due to injury, Sharples was critical of the Cats’ cohesion and communication.

“That was a little hard because we didn’t get to practice it a whole lot this past week,” Sharples said. “With that in mind, we just needed to know that we needed to work together.”

NU looked its best in closing the first half, as Sharples struck a header off a set piece in the 40th minute, finishing junior midfielder Marisa Viggiano’s cross from the right corner. A Cincinnati foul gave the Cats an opportunity to strike close to the net, and Sharples gave her team the lead.

Although NU ended the half with a 1-0 lead, Gavorski quickly halted the Cats’ momentum. Her first goal was launched from almost 30 yards from goal, but Clem had little chance as it found the back of the net in the 51st minute.

“(It) was just a well-struck ball,” Clem said. “I’m going to give it to her.”

Gavorski took advantage of NU’s confusion and was the first player to score multiple goals against Clem in a single game.

Moynihan said losing at home makes the loss sting even more.

“We had a lot of chances, good looking ones, and we didn’t capitalize,” Moynihan said. “Now we got to pull our socks up and get after it the next time.”

The Cats will continue their three-game home stretch against Missouri and Pepperdine. They then open Big Ten play against reigning conference co-champion and No. 4 Penn State.

Sharples said rebounding from a tough start is an easy fix, and the Cats simply need to improve their composure to find better opportunities.

“We want to bounce back,” Sharples said. “We’re going to take this game in and brush it off.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @2021_Charlie

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