Women’s Soccer: Rapid Recap: Northwestern 2, Vanderbilt 1


Claudia Arriaga/The Daily Northwestern

The Wildcats celebrate a goal. The team’s No. 5 national ranking in October was the highest in program history.

Lucas Kim, Reporter

For only the third time in program history, Northwestern (16-4-2, 7-2-1 Big Ten) is headed to the Sweet Sixteen.

Facing Vanderbilt (12-5-4) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Friday, the Wildcats scored two goals in the second half to secure a 2-1 victory in the two programs’ first-ever meeting.

The game got off to a slow start as both squads failed to tally a shot until the 35th minute. However, after a quiet first half, the second half brought plenty of action. 

The scoring began with junior midfielder Josie Aulicino’s  goal in the 53rd minute off a well-placed cross from junior midfielder Ingrid Falls. Junior midfielder Bridget Mitchell doubled the Cats’ lead on her first career goal with nine minutes to go in the match.

Following a Commodores’ penalty goal in the 82nd minute to cut the lead to one, NU held off their unrelenting offense to come away with the victory.

Here are three takeaways from NU’s 2-1 win against Vanderbilt in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Aulicino keeps producing

Entering last Saturday’s first round matchup against SIUE, Aulicino – a Third Team All-Big Ten selection — led the team with seven goals and eight assists.

Since then, the Northville, Mich. native has earned two goals and two assists, including one of each against Vanderbilt. 

Shortly after the half, Aulicino broke the 0-0 tie after a deflected cross landed right at her feet, leaving just the keeper between her and the net. The Cats’ second goal came off Aulicino’s deflected shot, which Mitchell promptly rebounded and knocked in.  

The Cats catch a huge break

Following the first goal, the two teams continued to go back and forth.

Following several meaningful possessions from both teams, the Commodores seemed to have tied the game up on a 68th minute goal from graduate defender Abena Aidoo. 

Vanderbilt graduate midfielder Brooke Vandyke made a run into the box and made an attempt on goal which looked like it was going in. However, shortly before crossing the goal line, Aidoo came from the backside and knocked the ball in, celebrating soon thereafter.

But Aidoo was called offside, nullifying the game-tying goal and keeping the game at 1-0.  

More history made

In addition to making the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2016, the victory is NU’s 16th this year, tying for the most in program history.

During the regular season, the Cats accumulated 23 goals in Big Ten play as eight players were named All-Big Ten, both representing the most in program history.

With the win, the Cats will face the winner of first seed UCLA and UCF on Sunday, trying to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time.

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Twitter: @lucaskim_15

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