Women’s Soccer: NU defeats Purdue, advances to second round of Big Ten Regional Weekend


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Northwestern Women’s Soccer players celebrate after a win over Maryland. The Wildcats defeated Purdue 1-0 in the first round of the Big Ten Regional Weekend Thursday.

Skye Swann, Assistant Sports Editor

Women’s Soccer

After losing to Purdue by one goal in mid-March, the tables turned for Northwestern in the postseason. 

A penalty shot goal from senior midfielder Regan Steigleder in the 66th minute lifted the Wildcats (6-6, 6-6 Big Ten) to a 1-0 victory over the Boilermakers (4-6-2, 4-6-2 Big Ten) in the first round of the Big Ten Regional Weekend. 

“We had some really strong individuals that helped change the momentum of the game,” coach Michael Moynihan said. “Getting the goal gave us confidence because we gave up two leads this year and we didn’t want to let that happen again.”

Outshot 13-6 by Purdue — including 8-0 in the first half —  NU’s defense led the way in Madison, Wis. The Cats allowed only five Boilermaker shots on goal behind a stellar performance from junior goalie Mackenzie Wood, who saved five shots. 

At the start of the first half, NU struggled to move the ball outside of its own third, causing Purdue to find early scoring chances. But Wood was there to stop a fast-paced Boilermakers offense from getting on the board. 

She made four blocks over 45 minutes, including an impressive one against a shot from Purdue forward Sarah Griffith in the 25th minute. Looking at an opening on the left side of the goal, Griffith — who scored the game-winning goal in the March matchup — wanted to put the Boilermakers out in front. However, Wood didn’t let the ball pass, making a diving save at the goalpost. 

“The goal that was scored in the first game (by Purdue) was something that I couldn’t keep out of my brain so I just stuck that with me to fuel me for the second game,” Wood said.

Meanwhile, the Cats continued to struggle offensively and failed to cross midfield because of numerous miscues. 

Following the half, Moynihan felt his team’s issue came from its starting formation. So he changed it to start the next 45 minutes. 

Moynihan soon realized his switch “started to change the momentum” of the game.

NU opened the half with two shots in the first six minutes, using its offensive momentum to prevent any scoring chances from Purdue. Sixteen minutes into the half, the Cats’ new game plan finally came to fruition. 

Purdue fouled sophomore Aurea Martin, which awarded NU a penalty shot. Steigleder was assigned to take the penalty kick towards Boilermakers goalie Marisa Bova, and it proved to be the right move. Her shot sailed past Bova to give the Cats the lead and what would eventually be the game-winning goal. 

“It felt really good to get some redemption and get the shut out today,” Steigleder said. 

Purdue did not let up, finishing the half with five shots to NU’s six. However, the Cats’ defense, led by junior defender Hallie Pearson, rose to the occasion and prevented any Boilermaker goals. A Big Ten Player of the Week honoree in February, Pearson helped stunt Purdue’s offense by stealing the ball and playing strong defense. 

The Cats now advance to the second round of the weekend to face top-seeded Wisconsin on Sunday for a chance at redemption. NU fell 1-0 to the Badgers on Mar. 18 due to their struggle to shoot the ball. 

“(Wisconsin) has been one of the strongest defensive teams in the conference this year so we have our work cut out,” Moynihan said. “We were certainly in (the first game) so that gives us some confidence and hopefully a shot at redemption.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @sswann301

Related Stories: 

Women’s Soccer: Northwestern to face Purdue in first round of Big Ten Regional Weekend

Women’s Soccer: Northwestern falls to Illinois on Senior Day in regular season finale

Women’s Soccer: Northwestern women’s soccer gets a shutout in win over Maryland