Men’s Soccer: Wildcats close home season with overtime win


Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer

Tommy Katsiyiannis fights for the ball. The freshman midfielder scored an overtime goal to give Northwestern a 2-1 win over Loyola on Tuesday.

Ella Brockway, Reporter

Men’s Soccer

Northwestern’s first home game of the 2017 season was a 2-1 overtime win over Valparaiso on Aug. 25. It was only fitting the Wildcats ended their home season almost exactly two months later in the same fashion.

Freshman midfielder Tommy Katsiyiannis scored the golden goal in the second overtime period to give NU (6-10, 1-6 Big Ten) the 2-1 win over Loyola (6-6-3, 2-3-1 Missouri Valley) in its final home matchup of the regular season on a cold and rainy Tuesday night. Junior goalkeeper Robbie White saved back-to-back shots in the 99th minute to turn the tide in the Cats’ favor, and Katsiyiannis capitalized on the opportunity.

The win was NU’s first over the Ramblers since 2013, and completed the team’s season sweep over the three other Chicago area programs, which include DePaul and Illinois-Chicago.

“There’s no trophy or anything, but it’s a little thing that you always want to kind of be the best team in the area,” coach Tim Lenahan said. “Loyola’s been the best team the last two years, so to get this result against them and to sweep that group was something that, looking forward, we can talk about.”

After a scoreless first half, the Cats opened the second period on a strong note, taking a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute on a header from sophomore forward Ty Seager.

Following Seager’s goal, the Cats battled wind and heightened pressure from Loyola. A string of plays that included two corner kicks in less than two minutes resulted in Loyola’s only score of the night. Midfielder Aidan Megally’s header in the 76th minute brought the game to a tie.

The Ramblers’ second major offensive threat came in the 82nd minute when NU senior defender Riley Kelliher committed a foul in the box and Loyola earned its first penalty kick. The Cats caught a lucky break when midfielder Kyle Thomson’s penalty kick hit the crossbar, keeping the game at 1-1 with under 10 minutes left in regulation. Their defense held to force overtime for the third time this season.

“I was taking my gloves off because I was getting ready to shake hands with the coach, to be honest,” Lenahan said. “We talked about how we have to work on our defending post-penalty kick if the keeper makes the save, so that’s something you work on in practice every day. It was just (us) hanging on for dear life.”

Nine minutes into overtime, NU gave up its second foul inside the box, allowing Loyola another penalty kick attempt. The Cats turned to White, who has tallied 44 saves in just seven games this season.

The junior saved both Loyola defender Grant Stoneman’s initial penalty kick and forward Alec Lasinski’s shot attempt on the rebound with 70 seconds left in the first overtime period. The two clutch saves gave NU a boost heading into the second overtime.

“When Robbie saved (the penalty), we didn’t help him out either on the rebound (and) weren’t on top of our game,” Katsiyiannis said. “But he made another save, and if he was willing to put it all on the line for us, then we were going to do the same for him.”

The Cats needed just four more minutes to push forward offensively. Sophomore forward Mac Mazzola sent a ball ahead to Seager and Katsiyiannis on the counter attack, and it was Seager’s cut that allowed the freshman to break forward and score one-on-one against Loyola goalkeeper Evan Konermann.

The win gives NU some much-needed momentum heading into its final matchup of the regular season at Penn State. The Cats are still fighting for the No. 7 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, and a win over the Nittany Lions would secure that spot.

“It’s a playoff game,” White said. “It’s probably our biggest game of the season right now, and we’ve got to perform.”

Twitter: @ellabrockway