Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman
Northwestern will face in-state rival Illinois Saturday at Lanny and Sharon Martin Stadium in its final game of the regular season. The matchup will be Senior Day for midfielders Kylie Fisher, Madi Kennel and Regan Steigleder and forwards Nia Harris and Kayleigh Stahlschmidt.
After a 1-0 loss to Ohio State on March 28, the Wildcats (5-5, Big Ten) are looking to close out the regular season on a high note against the Fighting Illini (5-4-1, Big Ten), who they are playing for the first time in 2021.
Offensively, junior forward Olivia Stone and sophomore midfielder Aurea Martin lead the team with 3 goals each. Stone scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over Michigan State on March 25.
Defensively, the Cats’ aggressive and high pressure approach will create a challenge for the Fighting Illini. Junior goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood is the backbone of NU’s effort, saving 73.5 percent of shots sent her way.
Wood’s stops will be a focal point for Saturday’s game, as the Fighting Illini have 10.1 shots per game to the Cats’ 9.1. If she can shut down Illinois’s offense, it could help the Cats catalyze an attack of their own.
More importantly, it may lead NU to an above-.500 record.
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