Women’s Soccer: Northwestern surrenders to Indiana, giving up Friday Night Lights matchup


Daily file photo by Kelsey Carroll

Sophomore midfielder Ingrid Falls dribbles the ball down the field against Illinois defender. Falls facilitated offensive play and made multiple crosses in Friday’s game.

Skye Swann and Peter Ryan

With five minutes left in the game, Northwestern graduate student midfielder Regan Steigleder took a shot in a last-minute attempt to force overtime against a high-powered Indiana unit. 

But Hoosier goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg blocked Steigleder’s attempt, handing the Wildcats a loss at Lanny and Sharon Martin Stadium to end a two game win streak.

“Indiana put a lot of numbers behind the ball,” coach Michael Moynihan said. “They sat in a formation that was really tight and it was hard for us to break that down.”

NU (7-5-1, 3-2-1 Big Ten) fell to Indiana (9-2-3, 3-1-2), concluding its homestand with a 2-1 record. Friday’s loss snapped a two-game winning streak that included wins against Nebraska and Illinois.

The Cats opened the game with consistent pressure in the attacking half, primarily down the left side of the field. From this position, the team sent multiple crosses into the box, none of which resulted in a shot on goal. Sophomore midfielder Ingrid Falls tried to liven up the offense in the first half, facilitating offensive connections. 

“Our coaches emphasize just how important it is to get crosses in from out wide,” Falls said. “Especially in our conference, because teams put a lot of pressure in the midfield.”

Outshot by Indiana 10-5, NU had trouble connecting on the offensive side of the field. The squad held possession several times throughout the match, but it couldn’t convert on offense, which Indiana capitalized on with a goal minutes before halftime.

Moynihan said he was unhappy with the Cats’ inability to generate shots and wants the team to work on taking more offensive chances in the future.

Despite making six substitutions at halftime, NU continued to struggle with building offensive pressure in the second half.

Indiana sustained its attacking presence from the end of the first half, attempting one shot and two corner kicks in the half’s opening 90 seconds. The Hoosiers took a more conservative approach after these threats, controlling possession and registering zero shots on goal in the final 15 minutes.

The team attempted to convert in the last minutes, but Falls said it struggled to find each other against the high pressure Indiana defensive unit. Steigleder’s shot attempt in the final minutes also gave the team hope to fight until the end, she said, as the senior leader pushes the rest of the team to play their hardest until the game clock runs out.

Steigleder, named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, has been a key player for the Cats this season. Moynihan said she brings tremendous energy to every game, inspiring the rest of the group to play with the same intensity. He added her well roundedness on both ends of the field is a secret weapon.

“She is one of those people who puts forth an honest effort every day,” Moynihan said. “There really aren’t any weaknesses to her game.”

Moynihan said NU will turn its attention to crosses as the team prepares for their remaining opponents. He said the Cats will pay special attention to play in the attacking third, generating connections and breaking through lines in order to make more effective crosses. 

NU will head to Madison to battle a competitive Wisconsin team Thursday. Falling short to the Badgers last season, the Cats are looking to get a win and earn retribution.

“We are working on generating better connections on the field,” Moynihan said. “We want to break through lines and focus attention on Wisconsin based on how they play.”

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Twitter: @sswann301

Email: [email protected]

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