Women’s Soccer: Northwestern wins second straight conference road game

Andrew Golden, Sports Edtior

In Lincoln, Nebraska three days ago, Northwestern was outshot 14-3, but still managed to turn one of three shots into a goal and escape with a victory.

On Sunday, the Wildcats (4-5-1, 2-1-0) once again were outshot, this time 22-6, by Iowa during the first 90 minutes of the game. But once again, NU turned one of their few chances into a goal in the first half, but this time had to play extra time after giving up a goal before halftime.

In overtime, NU junior midfielder Kylie Fisher crossed the ball into the box, where there was a scrum for the ball. Out of the big pile came Cats freshman defender Danika Austin, who struck the ball past the Hawkeyes’ goalie Claire Graves to give NU a 2-1 victory.

“We’ve just always been about capitalizing on the opportunities that we get,” Austin said. “You can’t really look at the stats. You’ve gotta be scrappy and you’ve just gotta keep going.”

Coming into Sunday’s matchup, the Cats hadn’t lost to Iowa since 2014, when they lost 1-0. The Hawkeyes came out the gates firing, looking to end NU’s streak. Iowa was aggressive, taking four shots in the first 15 minutes of the game before the Cats took their first shot of the game.

But NU broke the tie early, as freshman midfielder Lily Gilbertson took a corner kick and sent it into the box, where the ball sailed just over the outstretched hand of Graves and right to head of Cats freshman defender Reilly Riggs for a 1-0 lead.

The Hawkeyes continued their offensive attack, taking six more shots after the Cats goal and broke through to tie the game at one. Despite giving up the goal, sophomore goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood was stellar.

The sophomore from Granger, Indiana, saved three straight shots before giving up the goal in the 38th minute and saved eight shots for the whole game.

Both teams were knotted up at one in the second half and played a highly competitive contest in the second half, but neither team was able to score the game-winning goal in regulation.

“The word I would use for both of these games this weekend is gritty,” coach Michael Moynihan said. “I thought we showed a lot of heart and character (and) battled well.”

In overtime, the game was just as hotly-contested as the first 90 minutes with NU and Iowa trading possession. The Hawkeyes were able to take three shots to the Cats one, but none of Iowa’s were on goal.

NU, on the other hand, created more pressure on the Hawkeye defense through set pieces. The Cats had two corners in extra time and, while they didn’t convert, kept the ball on the Iowa half of the field and led to the goal.

The game-winning goal was a special one for Austin, as the freshman defender scored the first of her young career.

“It’s just an awesome feeling,” Austin said. “When your hard work finally pays off and you see that result and it goes through the back of the net, it’s just awesome.”

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