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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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Men’s Soccer: Offensive flurry propels No. 13 Northwestern to 4-2 win against Ohio State

Micah Sandy/Daily Senior Staffer
Senior midfielder Rom Brown dribbles the ball. Brown logged 52 minutes in No. 13 Northwestern’s 4-2 win against Ohio State on Sunday.

Dating back to 1994, Northwestern has never scored four goals in a Big Ten home opener — until now.

The Wildcats (7-0-2, 1-0-1 Big Ten), in a season full of firsts, have hit another historical milestone. 

NU, which was pegged to finish eighth in the conference in the preseason coaches poll, is currently the highest ranked Big Ten team in the country at 13th. The ‘Cats are off to their first nine-game unbeaten start to a season since 2008. 

Senior forward Justin Weiss is leading the conference in nearly every major statistical category.

Hosting Ohio State in its first conference home game of 2023 Sunday with significant momentum, NU fell behind early.

“(Our goal was) to be ready from the start to apply the pressure that we apply to teams, and then control and protect the ball when we win it,” coach Russell Payne said. “We didn’t do that. They were playing through us, around us, you name it.”

The ‘Cats were quick to find a response, though. 

Sophomore midfielder Jason Gajadhar, whose defensive lapse mere minutes earlier had precipitated the team’s 1-0 deficit, bagged his first goal of the season to level the score, 1-1.

Payne said NU gave the Buckeyes “a taste of their own medicine” on Gajadhar’s score. 

Starting in their own defensive third, it took the ‘Cats just four passes — and a deflection from an Ohio State player — to find an equalizer. A couple stepovers from graduate student forward Ugo Achara Jr. sent a Buckeye defender flying by before he played in Weiss, who laid the ball off to a streaking Gajadhar. The Canadian calmly took one touch before slotting his shot home for his first goal of the season.

Eight minutes later, freshman defender Bryant Mayer, whose first header was denied by the crossbar, joined Gajadhar on the scoresheet. As junior midfielder Collin McCamy signaled his ensuing corner, Mayer ditched his marker in the box, elevating and heading home NU’s second tally to secure a 2-1 halftime advantage.

Weiss recorded his second assist of the game less than three minutes into the second half. The Syosset, New York, native darted down the left flank, whipping a ball across the face of goal. 

His cross found the feet of junior defender Brandon Clagette, who tapped in the game-winning goal.

Although Clagette’s score ultimately secured the ‘Cats’ win, the Buckeyes were knocking at the door for much of the second half. A late challenge from junior midfielder Danh Tran saw Ohio State earn and score a penalty to trim the deficit to just one.

Despite the win, Payne said the team is looking to clean up its second half lapses.

“It’s disappointing that there was about 15 minutes in the second half, just like at Wisconsin, where we just lost our composure and we were sitting 30 yards from our goal,” Payne said. “We’re going to work on that.”

Freshman defender Fritz Volmar’s first collegiate goal in the 73rd minute capped off the hosts’ four-score outing.

A Buckeye player’s misplayed clearance fell to the feet of Volmar, who promptly rifled a left-footed strike into the back of the net. Volmar, who has carved out the starting left back role for the ‘Cats, is relishing the opportunity to attack and defend. 

“I enjoy it,” Volmar said. “It’s great that (the coaching staff) have given me the freedom to go forward. Obviously, sometimes when we lose the ball, it’s not my favorite thing because I have to track back 50 yards, but I think it’s great.”

Still undefeated, the ‘Cats now turn their attention to a date with Maryland on Friday in College Park, as Payne seeks his first regular season win over his alma mater as the head coach at NU.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @CervantesPAlex 

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

Men’s Soccer: Weiss’ late-game heroics lift Northwestern to 2-1 win over St. Thomas in season opener

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