Men’s Soccer: Northwestern concedes late penalty against No. 15 Ohio State, falls 2-1 on the road


Daily file photo by Eugenia Cao

Freshman midfielder Jayvin Van Deventer dribbles the ball. Van Deventer logged 39 minutes in Northwestern’s 2-1 loss to No. 15 Ohio State on Sunday.

Alex Cervantes, Assistant Sports Editor

Sunday’s matchup between No. 15 Ohio State and Northwestern was a meeting of polar opposites. 

On one hand, the Buckeyes boast the Big Ten’s best defense, but the Wildcats have conceded the most goals in the conference. What ensued was a 90-minute back-and-forth affair in which both backlines were tested to the utmost degree.

NU (2-7-4, 0-4-2 Big Ten) entered Columbus riding high on a three-match unbeaten streak. But the Cats’ two leading attackers, junior forward Justin Weiss and senior midfielder Vicente Castro, remain sidelined with injuries. As a result, coach Russell Payne looked to combine youthful exuberance and senior experience to capture more magic up front.

Payne’s plan went well initially. After graduate student midfielder Bardia Kimiavi unlocked the Buckeye defense, sophomore defender Brandon Clagette’s early effort forced the first save of the game.

Ohio State (8-1-4, 3-1-1) and NU combined for 12 shots in the opening frame, five of which forced saves from both keepers. Despite the frequent attacking forays, the two teams went into intermission scoreless.

Less than 10 minutes came off the clock in the second half, however, before the Buckeyes broke the deadlock.

Graduate student defender Ethan Dudley’s appeals for a penalty repeal were not awarded after he brought down an Ohio State attacker in the box. Although graduate student goalkeeper Christian Garner saved the penalty — one of eight saves of the day — he could do little to stop the rebound shot from Anthony Samways that gave the Buckeyes a 1-0 advantage.

The Cats responded with ample energy, generating some quality chances following the score. In the 67th minute, freshman midfielder Jason Gajadhar brought NU even 1-1 with a well-struck volley from just outside the box. The goal was Gajadhar’s third of the season, tying with Weiss and Dudley for the team lead.

But Ohio State, courtesy of a late penalty goal in the 80th minute, took the victory 2-1. Now, NU returns to Evanston with its first loss of October.

The Cats remain in the basement of the Big Ten table with just two points in conference play.  NU has a pair of critical Big Ten conference matches remaining — Wisconsin and Michigan State — as the team looks to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament.

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Twitter: @CervantesPAlex 

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