The Daily Northwestern

Women’s Soccer: Wildcats look to make history in Big Ten Tournament Championship Weekend

Brenna+Lovera+runs+upfield.+The+junior+forward+and+the+Wildcats+will+face+Wisconsin+on+Friday+in+the+Big+Ten+Tournament+semifinals.%0A
Brenna Lovera runs upfield. The junior forward and the Wildcats will face Wisconsin on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.

Brenna Lovera runs upfield. The junior forward and the Wildcats will face Wisconsin on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.

(Daily file photo by Katie Pach)

(Daily file photo by Katie Pach)

Brenna Lovera runs upfield. The junior forward and the Wildcats will face Wisconsin on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.

Charlie Goldsmith, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story







Women’s Soccer


After Northwestern started its Big Ten season with a 3-0 loss to Penn State, coach Michael Moynihan asked his players if they were resilient enough to compete with the conference’s strongest opponents.

This weekend, the second-seeded Wildcats (11-6-2, 7-3-1 Big Ten) will get to answer that question against No. 6 seed Wisconsin (13-4-2, 6-3-2) and, potentially, the No. 5 seed Nittany Lions.

But before staking its claim as the best in the conference, NU will have to win twice and extend its five-game winning streak. The Cats face the Badgers for the second time this season after beating them 2-0 in October. A win Friday would set them up for a rematch with the winner of top-seeded Ohio State and Penn State’s semifinal match.

Even though NU will have to beat two of the Big Ten’s best, junior defender Hannah Davison said it could be two goals away from winning its first Big Ten Tournament championship trophy in school history.

“This team is really excited to have this opportunity, and we’re rolling just at the right time,” Davison said. “We always have a target on our back because we’re known for having a strong defense, but we take so much pride in it and none of this overwhelms us.”

The Cats have needed just one goal to win lately, and Davison said one on Friday and another Sunday will be enough to make history. NU’s formula to victory in October was shutout defense and a goal near the end of the match to put it away. The Cats clinched their last three victories with second-half goals, a strategy Davison hopes will continue to work in November.

In an elimination environment, where the result is not decided until somebody scores, Moynihan said NU is primed for success. This group is 4-2 in elimination games in the last two seasons, and the Cats have never lost an overtime game in postseason play. Moynihan said NU’s familiarity in tense matches can lead it to even more tournament success this year.

“In postseason play, people are more intense, more nervous,” he said. “You put in an awful lot of work in the offseason and through the course of the regular season to earn the right to play here. These guys earned the right, and now all of the attention really gets magnified.”

Junior forward Brenna Lovera — one of the Cats’ leading goal scorers — said she hopes to be the one that clinches NU’s success. Lovera scored four game-winning goals last season in just 10 games before an injury ended her season, making this her longest postseason experience.

She has scored four goals this year, including a game winner against Michigan State that gave the Cats momentum heading into the postseason. Playing in her first Big Ten Tournament semifinals, Lovera said NU will not need to reinvent the wheel to win.

“We want to win this, and this is our biggest goal,” she said. “Our energy level right now is so high, our confidence level is so good and our trust in each other on the field and the chemistry have been great. Whoever is placed in front of us, we’re going to definitely attack them.”

Email: charliegoldsmith2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @2021_Charlie

Comments