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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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Women’s Soccer: Northwestern dominates in 3-0 victory over Minnesota

Jorge Melendez/The Daily Northwestern
Junior defender Emma Phillips heads the ball toward goal. Phillips now has seven goals on the season, the second-most on the team.

After a rough five-game stretch spanning back to last month, Northwestern has now won two of its last three matches, including a 3-0 defeat over Minnesota on Thursday.

The Wildcats (9-4-4, 3-4-2 Big Ten) secured their largest margin of victory in a Big Ten game this season, shutting out the Golden Gophers (6-6-4, 2-5-2 Big Ten), with whom they had been tied in the conference standings before the match.

It was an offensively efficient night for NU after managing to get seven of its 11 shots on target. Despite being outshot 14-11, the team’s back line remained solid all game, thwarting many chances for Minnesota attackers to get a clean shot on net.

“We’ve been working a lot on just having a little bit better awareness of each other and spacing in the line,” coach Michael Moynihan said. “Won a lot of head balls; there were a lot of long serves coming in and we won a lot of those, so very happy with the job.”

On the other end of the pitch, the ‘Cats continued to generate opportunities throughout the match, particularly on set pieces which have been wildly successful for the team this season, Moynihan said. 

In its last home regular season game, both of NU’s first two goals came from set pieces assisted by senior midfielder Meg Boade. Boade’s 12th minute corner kick was deflected multiple times before sophomore midfielder Caterina Regazzoni swiftly knocked it into the back of the net for the first score.

Then with seven seconds remaining in the first half, the ‘Cats struck again. With the clock ticking down, Boade lobbed a free kick into the box where junior defender Emma Phillips was timing a perfect run to head the ball past the keeper.

“(Phillips) is a real threat aerially, so a lot of our stuff is designed around her to free her up,” Moynihan said. “I was getting a little nervous because I wasn’t sure they were aware of the time on the clock, but it worked out pretty perfectly.”

This marked Phillips’ seventh goal of the season, the second-highest tally on the roster despite being a defender.

Over the past five games, Phillips has accumulated four set piece goals, all on headers.

“My mindset is to be fearless,” Phillips said. “I know I can trust that (Boade), Josie (Aulicino) and (Regazzoni) are going to give me a dime every single time, so I guess I just go fearless and leave it all out there.”

After nearly 45 minutes of scoreless play, Aulicino put the game away for good with a long-range, counterattack goal that was lobbed over the reach of the retreating Minnesota goalkeeper.

Despite the convincing victory, NU still came away with a few battle scars. Conditions during Thursday’s competition were rainy and windy, perhaps more so than any other game for the ‘Cats, leading to a chippy style of play. 

“It wasn’t the prettiest game of soccer we ever played,” Boade said. “I feel like it just came down to who wanted it more, and for a lot of people, it’s their last game on our home field. So we had to go out with a win.”

With a Big Ten Tournament appearance on the line, NU will face Rutgers in a must-win regular season finale on Sunday.

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Twitter: @lucaskim_15

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