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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: No. 16 Northwestern blanks Maryland 2-0, Payne nabs first regular season victory over alma mater

Micah Sandy/Daily Senior Staffer
Northwestern sophomore forward Christopher Thaggard and junior defender Brandon Clagette. Thaggard bagged the Wildcats’ second goal in NU’s 2-0 win against Maryland on Friday.

For coach Russell Payne, facing his alma mater in conference play typically tells a traditional tale — one of the nation’s foremost foes juxtaposed with a squad looking to turn the tide of a tough run of form.

That same story carried over Friday night at Ludwig Field. But, unlike previous years, it was No. 16 Northwestern riding a scorching start to the season taking on a Maryland team rife with attacking inconsistency.

Although the Terrapins (1-5-2, 0-3-1 Big Ten) struck seven shots on graduate student goalkeeper Jackson Weyman’s net, the veteran shot stopper stood tall and helped bring the Wildcats (8-0-2, 2-0-1 Big Ten) to a 2-0 road victory.

Both teams possessed their fair share of goalscoring opportunities throughout the first half, but Weyman and Maryland goalkeeper Mikah Seger combined for five saves to keep the contest deadlocked in the first 42 minutes.

With just over two minutes before the halftime break, sophomore midfielder Jason Gajadhar squared the ball onto junior midfielder Collin McCamy’s lethal left boot. 

On a one-timed effort, McCamy struck a screamer that soared beyond Seger’s outstretched gloves, tucking into the top-left corner of the net. While both sides had earlier goals disallowed for offsides, McCamy’s moment of magic manufactured a 1-0 halftime lead for NU.

Seven minutes into the second half, Gajadhar once again displayed his playmaking prowess. After McCamy gobbled up an errant Seger pass and connected with the sophomore, Gajadhar took one touch and slotted a feed to sophomore forward Christopher Thaggard at the top of the box.

Thaggard opened up on his back foot, firing a left-footed laser between two defenders and into the bottom-left corner to give the ‘Cats a 2-0 advantage. The Charlotte FC youth product darted toward the right corner flag with outstretched arms and celebrated with his teammates on the touchline.

Possessing the most dangerous lead in soccer with well over a half hour remaining, Payne’s group couldn’t afford to let the Terrapins get a foot in the door, especially after the past week’s draw at Wisconsin.

While longtime Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski’s men attempted to dial up the pressure on NU’s goal, Weyman held his six-yard box under lock and key and the woodwork came to his aid on four occasions Friday night.

The graduate student goalkeeper tallied five second-half saves, leaving the Terrapins increasingly frustrated. Tempers began to flare in the matchup’s final five minutes, but as the dust settled, the ‘Cats extended their unbeaten run to 10 games.

NU returns home to Martin Stadium for a two-game homestand. First, the ‘Cats take on Green Bay in their final nonconference tilt of the season, then they’ll face Rutgers five days later.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jakeepste1n

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