Northwestern women’s soccer (2-1 B1G) was able to pick up their second win of the season on Sunday in a nailbiter over Maryland in Evanston with a final score of 1-0. The ‘Cats earned their first victory over the Terrapins since 2017, and showed off their defensive prowess and offensive potential in the battle of Under Armor faithful. Both Wildcat wins this season have exemplified their defensive potential, with each coming by the same narrow 1-0 margin.
The game started off slow, with both sides making key defensive stops and forcing a 0-0 halftime score. It took until the 59th minute for the Wildcats to finally break through, when junior forward Olivia Stone netted her first goal of the season on a nice redirect in the box. First-year midfielder Josie Aulicino got credited with her first career assist on the eventual game winner, with a nice set up from the left side.
For Stone, the goal was a long time coming as she was able to net five shots on goal. The game was eventually iced when junior goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood recorded her only two saves of the game in minute 79, the last chance the Terrapins had.
Although the score board showed a close game, it did feel as if the Wildcats were the better team for most of the afternoon. In terms of shots, the ‘Cats got off 15 shots compared to only eight for the Terrapins. The ‘Cats also had seven corner kicks compared to just three for the Terrapins. The ‘Cats were able to force the ball into Terrapin territory at will and continuously create scoring opportunities. While the ‘Cats have seemingly struggled to find their footing offensively, hopefully this burst of opportunity is foreshadowing better upcoming offensive performances on the scoreboard.
For the Terrapins, first-year goalkeeper Kennedy Tolson deserves credit for her five saves and only one goal allowed. From the eye of a spectator, it seemed as if the Wildcats controlled most of the momentum and had the ball in the Terrapin territory for most of the afternoon. However, the Wildcat defense also had their share of stops and the rest of the Terrapin offensive unit was unable to carry their weight.
The ‘Cats will take on Minnesota on Thursday in Minneapolis in their first road game of the season. It will be interesting to see how the ‘Cats perform outside of the friendly confines of Ryan Fieldhouse, as the team goes for their second straight win. Regardless, the team has to be happy with their 2-1 start; let’s see where the momentum takes them.