Men’s Soccer: Still unsuccessful in Big Ten, Wildcats fall to No. 22 Michigan


Daily file photo by Kate Salvidio

Robbie White kicks the ball. The junior goalkeeper and the Wildcats fell to No. 22 Michigan on Sunday.

Hugh Mallen, Reporter

Men’s Soccer

Northwestern lost its fourth consecutive Big Ten game this year with a 3-1 road loss to No. 22 Michigan on Sunday afternoon.

But the score did not reflect the Wildcats’ strong effort in Ann Arbor. The Cats (2-7-0, 0-4-0 Big Ten) outshot the Wolverines (5-2-2, 2-1-1) 12-11, and Michigan’s third goal came against an open net with 30 seconds left after junior goalkeeper Robbie White abandoned his box in a last-ditch effort to equalize.

“There has to be some thumb pointing where you say ‘Hey I have to do this better,’” coach Tim Lenahan said. “If you do those things, karma starts to work for you rather than against you.”

The Cats played with an extra man for almost an hour, after Michigan forward Francis Atuahene was shown a red card for a poor tackle in the 32nd minute. Still, the Cats only mustered one goal.

Michigan’s first two goals came from set pieces, with the first scored off a deflection from midfielder Ivo Cerda in the 31st minute and the second off a corner kick from defender Jackson Ragen in the 57th minute.

In the 66th minute, sophomore midfielder Sean Lynch calmly finished a terrific through ball from fellow sophomore midfielder Mattias Tomasino to pull NU within one. Lynch has now scored in back-to-back games for the Cats and is leading the team in points. Despite Lynch’s recent form, NU has largely been unable to finish scoring chances this year.

“A lot of it is just composure on the ball,” Lynch said. “When we get one or two really good chances in the game, we need to just slow down and find the corners.”

The Cats continued to look for the equalizer with seven second-half shots, but could not find it. NU’s best chance to tie the contest came from a spell of possession in the 75th minute, which saw both junior defender Jake Roberge and freshman midfielder Tommy Katsiyiannis’s shots saved back-to-back.

Outside set pieces, NU defended well against a talented Michigan squad. It held the Wolverines to 11 shots, three of which were saved by White. Their commendable effort against a ranked opponent left the Cats optimistic about the future.

“I thought the defense did a good job for the most part,” Tomasino said. “I feel like we’re right there. We’re knocking on the door in some of these games and just not finishing them.”

Lenahan said he feels optimistic too, hoping his team will use these tough results to generate future wins.

“Little things cost us in (Michigan),” Lenahan said. “We have to be more consistent. The team is better than it was two or three weeks ago.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @_hughmallen