Men’s Soccer: NU gets significant Big Ten win against Rutgers


Evan Robinson-Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

Logan Weaver celebrates his goal. The freshman defender gave the Cats a 2-0 lead in the first half.

Charlie Goldsmith, Reporter

Men’s Soccer

The last time Northwestern won a home Big Ten men’s soccer game, the Wildcats had just started recruiting Logan Weaver, a local junior in high school at the time.

Between Oct. 15, 2017 — NU’s last home conference win — and Sunday’s game against Rutgers, Weaver had won two high school state titles, committed to play for the Cats and played in 11 college games as a freshman.

The drought lasted 736 days.

“I wasn’t aware of it until coach (Tim Lenahan) said something,” Weaver said. “Hopefully it doesn’t take as long for us to get our next one.”

NU wouldn’t have broken their two-year streak without Weaver, who scored his first career goal and gave the Cats (6-7-1, 2-3-1 Big Ten) a two-score lead in its 2-0 win over the Scarlet Knights (7-4-3, 1-4-1).

In the 11th minute, sophomore midfielder Richie Bennett sent a cross near the goal that was intercepted by Scarlet Knights defender Thomas Devizio. But Weaver took the ball away from defender –– he called it a “pickpocket” –– and created a scoring chance.

After he took control of the ball, Weaver tried to pass to a wide-open Ugo Achara Jr. in front of the net, but instead it ricocheted off Devizio into the goal for a 2-0 lead.

Weaver’s goal and the technical precision that led up to it was more impressive considering most of his experience this season has come on defense at left back. Weaver had only taken three shots this season before Sunday, but Lenahan said he trusted him to create an opportunity.

“That’s what he does,” Lenahan said. “That’s why he’s playing out of position as an unheralded freshman from around the corner. But because of his fight and spirit, he’s gotten his way on the field.”

The Cats scored both of their goals during one of their best offensive stretches of the season in the first half. In the 11th minute, senior midfielder Matt Moderwell crossed the ball from the left wing in the direction of sophomore attacker Jose Del Valle’s head. Del Valle redirected the ball toward the upper right corner over the outstretched arm of leaping Rutgers goalkeeper Oren Asher to get the team on the board.

The early lead was pivotal for an NU team missing two starting defenders. Senior defender Andrew McCleod and sophomore defender Julian Zighelboim were both out Sunday, so Lenahan moved starting midfielder Mattias Tomasino to the back line.

Lenahan also added sophomore Jayson Cyrus to the starting lineup as well, and the new look defense limited the Scarlet Knights to three shots in 90 minutes.

To make up for the missing figures on the back line, Lenahan said he put more athletic players on defense than usual. It worked, and the Cats jumped to sixth place in the conference standings with two conference games left.

“When we’re a little more athletic, people can’t beat us from behind,” Tomasino said. “That’s a big problem we’ve had in the past. Today with did that and played solid, hard defense which is exactly what we need to do.”

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