Aug. 28, 2009
Fuchs ESPNU.com Feature
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- Tracey Fuchs knew it would not be easy to get a win in her debut as Northwestern head coach facing a scrappy Boston University team. But her Wildcat team fought just a little bit harder, coming from behind in regulation before claiming a 2-1 overtime win on the strength of two goals by another newcomer to the team, Chelsea Armstrong.
"BU was feisty and tackled hard the entire game but we just stayed patient and found ourselves in the right spots in overtime," Fuchs said. "I was a little anxious before the game but I knew we were ready to play hard through the final whistle and it feels great to have the first win under our belts."
The overtime win by the 'Cats was the first for Northwestern since the third game of the 2007 season against Northeastern. With the victory, NU avenged a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Boston University in the opening weekend of last season.
Just over one minute into the extra session, NU created a turnover in the Terrier defensive end, leaving senior Courtney Plaster-Strange and Armstrong in a two-on-one scenario with BU 'keeper Amanda Smith. Plaster-Strange slid the ball across the circle to Armstrong, who was in perfect position to finish her golden-goal opportunity.
"We've worked on overtime situations so much in the past two weeks, to the point where the girls came off the field after regulation almost excited to have overtime," Fuchs said. "Chelsea is just naturally instinctual to be in the right place at the right time, she got a lot of touches on the ball and was dangerous for us all game. She worked really well with Plaster and (Elizabeth) Dobbs and they all stayed patient even though BU's defense was really just sitting back."
After back-and-forth play through much of the first 45 minutes, BU leapt in front off a goal by redshirt freshman Leslie Zules at the 50-minute mark. But the Wildcats wasted no time in responding, taking their possession off the BU goal and immediately earning a corner at the other end of the field.
On the corner, senior midfielder Stephanie Fortson sent her pass to senior Stacy Uchida for the stop, setting up Armstrong for the shot. Armstrong picked out her spot in the cage and did not misfire, lifting the ball past Smith to pull NU even just one minute after the Terriers' goal.
Both teams put the clamps on defensively over the final 19 minutes of regulation as neither squad allowed a serious chance for the game-winner. Making her third-career start and her first since 2007, junior goalkeeper Katie Lynch notched four big saves and looked confident from start to finish.
Northwestern battled hard in the first half as both teams enjoyed roughly equal amounts of time in each other's offensive ends. Midway through the period, the Terriers earned their best chance of the half when Nikki Lloyd found herself one-on-one with Lynch. Lloyd managed to stickhandle around a diving Lynch but sent her shot past the far bar and out of play.
NU answered shortly after when clever stickhandling and a good pass by Zoe Almquist eventually resulted in a corner for the 'Cats. Armstrong was the beneficiary of the corner and unleashed a shot from the top of the circle, but BU netminder Amanda Smith smothered the shot in the middle of the cage.
The Wildcat defense routinely answered the call in the second half, as Stacy Uchida and Almquist nixed a number of breakaway opportunities before they even reached Lynch in the cage.
Northwestern is back in action at 3 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Ohio University at Lakeside Field.