Men’s Soccer: Northwestern unable to overcome Michigan’s early lead, ups losing streak to four


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Freshman midfielder Collin McCamy tussles for the ball with two defenders in the Wildcats’ match against Kansas City. NU dropped to 2-5-2 on the season after losing to Michigan.

Lawrence Price, Assistant Sports Editor

It was a historic Sunday afternoon for college men’s soccer. For the first time, a Power Five men’s soccer game featured two Black head coaches, Northwestern’s Russell Payne and Michigan’s Chaka Daley. While this is Payne’s first year with the Wildcats, this season marks Daley’s 10th go-around at Michigan.

Despite the special day, the Wildcats (2-5-2, 0-3-0 Big Ten) struggled to find the back of the net and secure their third win of the year, instead losing 3-1. Meanwhile, the Wolverines (4-4-1, Big Ten 1-1-0) had no trouble capitalizing on offensive opportunities. The loss extends NU’s winless streak to four games.

Michigan had a large presence early on, getting on the board in the second minute of the match. Midfielder Kevin Buca head-butted a pass from teammate forward Evan Rasmussen into the net, making the score 1-0.

But the midfielder wasn’t done in the first half just yet. Receiving a pass from defender Ryan Schultz in the 26th minute, Buca made a move past graduate student goalkeeper Ethan Bandre, leaving the net open, to pick up his second goal of the contest.

Buca collected the hat trick in the second half during the 53rd minute. Off a pass from midfielder Marc Ybarra, he boosted the Michigan margin to 3-0 with a lower-left corner shot. The last time NU gave up a hat trick was in 2006, to UC Santa Barbara midfielder Tyler Rosenlund in the NCAA tournament.

Avoiding the shutout, sophomore forward Justin Weiss put the Cats on the board in the 82nd minute with a short pass from sophomore midfielder Rom Brown. The goal cut the Wolverines’ lead down to two, but that was as close as NU came to closing the gap.

Although the game added another loss to the record, Weiss’ late goal was his third of the season, a team best and tied for seventh-most in the Big Ten. The New York native is tied for the sixth-most points per game in the conference (0.89) and tied in second for shots (23) as well.

Michigan outshot NU by just one, 11 to 10, but that difference was still a major reason behind NU’s scoreless first half. In the first period, the Wolverines shot six times, five on goal, while the Cats only shot twice, one on goal. NU has outshot its opponent only once this season, in its first match against Chicago State.

Still, the amount of shots doesn’t always correlate with the outcome of the match, which was demonstrated in the Cats’ win over Kansas City earlier in the season. There, NU shot 10 times to its opponent’s 15 attempts.

Now looking to get back in the win column, the Cats host DePaul for a Wednesday matchup. The two squads have had opposite starts to their seasons thus far. While NU holds two wins to five losses, the Blue Demons enter with five wins to two losses.

Putting the Michigan game behind them and preparing for DePaul, the Cats now have eight matches remaining in the regular season. The slate will be challenging, though, as seven of the eight teams display a record at or above .500. The one exception is Ohio State, whom the squad plays Sunday, hoisting the second-worst record in the Big Ten to NU’s worst, winning these next two games is crucial to boosting the Cats back toward .500.

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