After breaking their 10-year long losing streak against Indiana and improving to two wins on the season, the Wildcats went to Columbus to try and continue their strong start to the season, taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes (3-1 B1G). While Northwestern got on the board early and looked fantastic to start the game, they dropped another match in the second half.
After a stellar start to the season and being named Big Ten Player of the Week after his dominance against the Hoosiers, sophomore forward Ugo Achara Jr. continued his dominant showing. Achara opened up the score for the Wildcats just 10 minutes in. After beautifully showing his control of the ball on a cross into the box, he turned, faked a shot, made a brilliant turn, and finished with his right foot to put the Cats up 1-0!
Unfortunately, from minutes 11-87, the game was dominated by the Buckeyes… goal after goal, their path to victory became more clear. At around 40 minutes in, first-year midfielder Parker Grinstead tied the game up with a beautiful goal, sending the match halftime tied 1-1.
Opening the second half, we saw a gritty, back and forth game for the first few minutes. When the Buckeyes had a clear opportunity 63 minutes in, first-year defender Sean Ryan got on the board to put Ohio State up 2-1. 17 minutes later, as the game progressed, the Buckeyes had another opportunity down the field and took the chance to capitalize, with junior defender Luke Kiley putting Ohio State up 3-1 with only 10 minutes left in the game.
While definitely looking bleak, the Wildcats were playing with definite energy, and kept pushing chances in the enemy box. The Buckeyes, however, were eager to rub salt in the wound with a goal with just 2 minutes left. While the Wildcats’ sophomore midfielder Vicente Castro scored at the buzzer, it was too little, too late, and Northwestern was heading home with a 4-2 loss to the Buckeyes.
Although disheartening, the team still has a bright season ahead of them, and they have truly showcased their potential. For the team’s success, however, it all comes down to whether or not the team can capitalize on a nightly basis, while also not letting games get out of hand as they did with this one… but if they can do that, they should have no problem taking the Big Ten Crown.
As always, Go ’Cats!