Men’s Soccer: Northwestern secures first win in a month, defeating Northern Illinois 3-1


Daily file photo by Madison Bratley

Freshman midfielder Jason Gajadhar dribbles the ball. Gajadhar scored his second goal of the season in Northwestern’s 3-1 win over Northern Illinois on Wednesday.

Alex Cervantes, Assistant Sports Editor

It’s been three weeks since Northwestern was shellacked on the road at Indiana 4-1, doomed by a horrific three-minute, three-goal sequence. But since the turn of the month, the Wildcats look like a new team, and the results are starting to show.

October has been kind to the Cats (2-6-4, 0-3-2 Big Ten) thus far. Reeling after three consecutive losses to conference opponents, NU nabbed its first two points in Big Ten play this month. Draws against two ranked teams in Penn State and Maryland provided the Cats with a much-needed lift.

On the heels of a pair of positive performances, NU headed west on I-90 Wednesday for an in-state battle with Northern Illinois (4-5-4, 1-2-1 Mid-American Conference).

Not much came of the first half for either squad, as the Cats and Huskies headed into intermission scoreless. Out of halftime, Northern Illinois struck first. 

After turning away from senior defender Jayson Cyrus, a Huskie attacker fired a shot at freshman goalkeeper Paul Walters. Walters saved the initial effort, but parried the ball straight into the path of Northern Illinois midfielder Camilo Estrada, who calmly netted the game’s opening goal. 

Facing an early 1-0 second half deficit, NU once again had their backs against the wall. Graduate student defender Ethan Dudley emphatically provided the response.

In the 64th minute, graduate student midfielder Bardia Kimiavi was fouled just outside the box while driving down the left flank. Dudley stood over the ensuing free kick. On his preferred left foot, the Florida Gulf Coast transfer hit a low curling shot around the two-man wall and into the back of the net to level the game, 1-1.

From there, the Cats were off to the races. 

In the 73rd minute, junior midfielder Rom Brown collected a poor Huskie clearance and found Kimiavi in space just outside the box. The Virginia native took one touch before smashing the ball into the back of the net to give NU a 2-1 advantage. Freshman midfielder Jason Gajadhar capped off the Cats’ impressive comeback with a tap-home finish in the 83rd minute. 

NU’s 3-1 victory against the Huskies is the Cats’ first win in a month, while also stretching the squad’s unbeaten streak to three games.

On Sunday, NU will face its third ranked team in 14 days when the Cats travel to Columbus, Ohio, to face No. 15 Ohio State.

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Twitter: @CervantesPAlex 

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