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Women’s Soccer: Wildcats aim to score more against Indiana

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Marisa Viggiano sends a corner kick into the box. The Wildcats have scored their last three goals on the junior midfielder’s corners.

Marisa Viggiano sends a corner kick into the box. The Wildcats have scored their last three goals on the junior midfielder’s corners.

Daily file photo by Alec Carroll

Daily file photo by Alec Carroll

Marisa Viggiano sends a corner kick into the box. The Wildcats have scored their last three goals on the junior midfielder’s corners.

Charlie Goldsmith, Reporter

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Women’s Soccer


Northwestern’s goal scorers were described by coach Michael Moynihan as daring, aggressive and airborne, but nearly every one of its goals in 2017 has taken place in an exciting but familiar fashion.

Time after time, junior midfielder Marisa Viggiano runs to the spot of a free kick and sticks her left arm in the air. Then, as four or five of her teammates swarm the box, Viggiano serves the ball and a Wildcat heads it into the back of the net.

For NU (5-4-1, 2-1-1 Big Ten) to continue its success throughout a difficult Big Ten schedule, including Thursday’s match at Indiana (5-4-2, 1-1-1), Moynihan said the Cats will need to find other ways to score.

“Kayla Sharples and company, they’re a force to be reckoned with, and we have a bunch of players really determined to get after the ball,” he said. “We have got to score more through the run of play. We’re starting to generate those chances but we need to convert those.”

NU has utilized set pieces — opportunities coming from free kicks and corner kicks — to score the majority of its goals this season. Each of the Cats’ goals in their last five games have come off a set piece cross from Viggiano. Sharples, a junior defender, is the self-identified target and the most frequent finisher, scoring a team-high three goals off corner kicks this season.

“It’s definitely something we pride ourselves on and something we’re going to keep using to our advantage,” junior defender Hannah Davison said. “Kayla’s really dangerous in the air and I like to make a run first and kind of throw them off. If I can get on it, great, but I know that Kayla’s right there coming from behind.”

Moynihan said the Cats trained in the offseason on finishing crosses from Viggiano, now seventh in assists in NU history.

Indiana, Thursday’s opponent, is ninth in the Big Ten, having tied Purdue and lost to Michigan in their last two matches. Despite their struggles in conference play, the Hoosiers have a more aggressive approach than the Cats. While Indiana has three players with more than 20 shot attempts, NU only has one.

Senior goalkeeper Lauren Clem said she sees the Cats’ improvement over the last week leading to more chances and expects more goals in coming games.

“Offensively, we’re just staying calm,” Clem said. “We’re realizing that we play better if we build from the back. The goals will come if we stay focused and do it as a group.”

Email: charlesgoldsmith2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @2021_charlie

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