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Men’s Soccer: Northwestern faces Concordia-Chicago in final tuneup before Big Ten Tournament

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Men’s Soccer: Northwestern faces Concordia-Chicago in final tuneup before Big Ten Tournament

Julian Zighelboim defends an opponent. The freshman dendefer has started all 17 games this season.

Julian Zighelboim defends an opponent. The freshman dendefer has started all 17 games this season.

Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Julian Zighelboim defends an opponent. The freshman dendefer has started all 17 games this season.

Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Julian Zighelboim defends an opponent. The freshman dendefer has started all 17 games this season.

Andrew Golden, Assistant Sports Editor

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After tying Penn State almost three weeks ago, coach Tim Lenahan said it was time for Northwestern to thrive in its final six games of the season.

The Wildcats (4-8-5, 0-5-3 Big Ten) have failed to do that. Since its tie against the Nittany Lions, NU has gone 0-3-2, and has been outscored 8-4.

During this five-game stretch, the Cats have played in three double overtime games, but haven’t been able to score and win them. But junior midfielder Sean Lynch said the team is still battling.

“Our team, we haven’t given up yet,” Lynch said. “Every single time we got into OT, the guys are still working hard, we’re still playing for the win.”

With one more game remaining in the season, NU will look to get back in the win column for the first time in almost seven weeks.

Their opponent will be Division III Concordia-Chicago, who come into the game on a seven-game losing streak. In just their last three matches, the Cougars (3-11, 2-9 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference) have been demolished by a combined score of 16-0.

Concordia-Chicago relies on forward Ryan Kuhlman for most of its offense, as he leads the team with 14 points. Kuhlman has hit a rough stretch, as he hasn’t gotten on the scoreboard in the last four games.

The Cougars’ goalkeepers haven’t helped their cause all season. The three goalkeepers that have been used this season have combined to give up 2.86 goals per game.

Friday is Senior Night for the Cats, and the game against the Cougars will be a good chance for NU to get a confidence boost heading into the Big Ten tournament.

“We’re going to enjoy Senior Night on Friday,” Lenahan said. “Different guys will get playing time and then we got eight days to get ready for our next opponent in the Big Ten tournament.”

The Cats will look to attack Concordia University-Chicago’s defense and earn scoring opportunities. Lenahan said seeing the ball in the back of the net will give his team confidence.

Against Wisconsin on Wednesday, freshman forward Jose Del Valle helped jumpstart his team’s confidence with the first goal of his career.

Del Valle has battled through injuries all season, but has started to find his rhythm in recent games. In the last four games, the freshman forward has taken four shots on goal, after taking just one in the previous five matches he played in.

Despite the record, Lenahan is taking the positives from the previous games, like Del Valle’s goal and using it to motivate the Cats moving forward.

“There’s positives that can be seen,” Lenahan said. “You have to look at results sometimes as opposed to the wins… you have to compete before you win. Hopefully this has been a year where we have learned to compete. In the next week, we learn to win, and in the future, we learn to win a lot.”

Peter Warren contributed reporting.

Email: andrewgolden2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @andrewcgolden

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