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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Fall Sports Roundup: Northwestern’s soccer and field hockey programs off to rapid start

Daily file photo by Claudia Arriaga
Senior midfielder Meg Boade. Boade has four goals and nine assists for Northwestern so far this season.

Northwestern’s fall sports season is off to a remarkable start, highlighted by its pair of undefeated soccer teams and another dominant opening from field hockey.

As the 2023-24 academic year commences, a new marketing push from the Athletic Department is encouraging student attendance at fall sporting events. Though the University’s academic calendar does not align with the start of fall seasons for its athletic programs, the new incentive — a points-based system for men’s basketball game tickets — coincides nicely with the beginning of Big Ten play for many of the Wildcats’ Olympic sports teams. 

Here is a breakdown of where each NU athletic program — which includes several highly-ranked squads — stands for now.

Field Hockey

Coach Tracey Fuchs and the ‘Cats are adjusting to life without one of, if not the greatest, senior classes in program history. Still, it’s business as usual at Lakeside Field, while expectations of another deep NCAA Tournament run remain. 

Despite the departures of Bente Baekers, Ana Medina Garcia and more — along with the absence of first-team All-American and senior midfielder Maddie Zimmer, who is playing for Team USA in the 2023 Pan American Games this fall — NU entered the season as the No. 2 team in the nation. The team dropped its season-opening contest at home to No. 9 Louisville, 1-0, but the ‘Cats have since rattled off seven-straight victories and commence Big Ten play as one of the hottest teams in the country. 

Women’s Soccer

The team is not surprising anyone this season. After setting a program record of 16 wins in 2022 and marching to the Sweet Sixteen — tying the program’s farthest postseason advancement in its history — NU is poised to make another NCAA Tournament run in 2023.

The No. 18 ‘Cats are undefeated through nine games (7-0-2), propelled by a top-10 scoring unit in the country, one which has tallied 28 goals this season. NU’s stout backline of graduate student defenders Danika Austin and Nicole Doucette alongside junior defender Emma Phillips has conceded just seven scores this year. The team’s stalwart nature allows coach Michael Moynihan to unleash his full arsenal of offensive weapons, including senior midfielders Meg Boade and Josie Aulicino, on opponents to great effect. 

Men’s Soccer

Coach Russell Payne has engineered a renaissance for the ‘Cats in 2023. After a pair of sub .500 campaigns to open his tenure in Evanston, Payne and NU have jumped out to an undefeated 6-0-2 start on the season — the program’s best run since 2008.

Led by senior forward Justin Weiss, who ranks third in the nation in total points with 16, the ‘Cats have climbed to No. 13 in the United Soccer Coaches poll, their highest ranking since being slotted No. 5 in  2013. Anchored by infallible sophomore center-back Nigel Prince, NU has conceded its fewest goals (seven) through its first eight games since the 2018 season.

Cross Country

Although Rachel McCardell has departed Evanston, coach Jill Miller returns a couple key cogs from last season’s NCAA Championship appearance in graduate student Kalea Bartolotto and junior Ava Earl.

The ‘Cats already have a pair of races under their belt, boasting a first-place finish at the Flyers Flames Challenge and a third-place result at the Badger Classic. Earl, Bartolotto and senior Katherine Hessler placed in the top 10 against Big Ten competition in Madison. NU will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia, for the Virginia Invitational this weekend, looking to settle its lineup. 


In the team’s final non-conference matchup of the season, droves of students piled into Welsh-Ryan Arena to watch NU sweep Yale, 3-0. The game set the single-match record for student attendance at 1,376, which is also an Olympic sport student attendance record at the University.

Entering Big Ten conference play this weekend against No. 1 Wisconsin, the ‘Cats sit at 6-4, having won four of their last five matchups. Senior setter Alexa Rousseau remains key for coach Shane Davis, while graduate student outside hitter Julia Sangiacomo paces the team with 103 kills on the season.

Women’s Golf

NU returns three first team All-Big Ten honorees from last season in Lauryn Nguyen, Dianna Lee and Jieni Li, as the ‘Cats look to build on last season’s No. 15 finish and NCAA Championship appearance.

NU has appeared in just one tournament so far this fall, finishing in a tie for 12th place at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational. Senior Jennifer Cai led the ‘Cats with a 1-over 217 (72-74-71), which resulted in a share of 17th place on the individual leaderboard.

Men’s Golf

NU is still hunting for its first NCAA Championship appearance since 2018, with the dynamic pairing of sophomore Daniel Svärd, last season’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and junior Cameron Adam pacing the ‘Cats.

In the team’s lone tournament of the fall thus far, Svärd and Adam led NU to a tie for fifth place out of 14 teams at the Gopher Invitational. Svärd, Adam and sophomore Ethan Tseng all placed in the top-20 in Minnesota, and will look to carry that momentum into the Windon Memorial Classic next week. 

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Twitter: @CervantesPAlex 

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Men’s Soccer: No. 13 Northwestern settles for 2-2 draw in conference opener at Wisconsin

Women’s Soccer: Aulicino scores three as Northwestern women’s soccer beats Oakland 7-0, Moynihan wins No. 300

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