Women’s Soccer: Lauren Clem named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week


Daily file photo by Oreste Visentini

Lauren Clem kicks the ball. The senior goalkeeper was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday.

Joseph Wilkinson, Assistant Sports Editor

Women’s Soccer

Lauren Clem was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday, two days after the senior goalkeeper earned her record-breaking 44th career shutout in Northwestern’s win over Wisconsin.

With her clean sheet against the Badgers, Clem broke a 16-year-old record and passed former Penn State goalkeeper Emily Oleksiuk. She also moved into a tie for the seventh-most saves in NCAA history.

Clem made four second-half saves to preserve a 2-0 Wildcats lead against Wisconsin, despite the Badgers taking more shots and winning more corners in the period. She also helped the Cats shut out No. 23 Minnesota last Thursday.

Clem made 12 saves over the course of the two matches, including seven against the Golden Gophers — which tied her season-high on the year.

Minnesota came into the game leading the Big Ten in goals, but the Gophers couldn’t get any of their 13 shots past the senior. Clem made five crucial saves in the second half, as the Cats held onto their 2-0 lead despite taking only two shots and winning zero corner kicks in the latter frame.

“I’m always appreciative of the honors,” Clem said. “People know who we are. They expect a lot of us as an entire program, so having that just shows how strong we are as an entire defensive unit.”

While Clem’s 0.826 save percentage ranks fourth in the conference this year, that mark is the lowest of her career thus far. Most of her struggles came early in the season, however, and Clem has allowed only four goals over the past eight matches.

The Cats have won five of those eight matches and now sit fourth in the conference standings. NU has only two matches remaining in the season, hosting Nebraska on Saturday before travelling to East Lansing, Michigan, to play Michigan State in the season finale on Oct. 25.

Alison Albelda contributed reporting.

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Twitter: @joe_f_wilkinson