Sept. 24, 2006
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's three-game win streak was snapped Sunday as the Wildcats fell to the 18th-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini, 2-0 at the Leonard B. Thomas Athletic Complex. Junior goalkeeper Lauren Johnston (Denver, Colo./Denver East) made six saves and freshman Alicia Herczeg (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura) registered four shots.
The loss drops Northwestern's record to 5-5, 1-1 in the Big Ten. Illinois improves to 6-4, 2-0 in conference.
Although the two teams combined for 15 shots in the first half, scoring opportunities seemed hard to come by. Northwestern's best chance came from the foot of Junior Kelsey Hans (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville). Hans took advantage of space just outside the box and took a shot that missed hitting the top-left corner by inches. Herczeg had an opportunity off a corner kick that found the Illini goalie. Johnston, though registering five of her six saves in the first half, was not tested often as the Northwestern defense forced many shots from long distance.
Illinois broke through in the 37th minute when Jessica Bayne snuck behind the Wildcat backline and scored on a one-on-one with Johnston. The tally proved to be the game-winner.
Bayne scored her second goal of the match in the 73rd minute to extend Illinois' lead to 2-0. The 'Cats did not have many scoring opportunities in the second stanza as the Illini defense clamped down to protect their advantage.
"It's going to take a bunch of chances to score against a good team and a good keeper," head coach Stephanie Erickson said. "We just need to string together 90 minutes of confident play. I think the change of getting on the road will be good for us."
The Wildcats will play their first road game since their season-opener against DePaul on August 25 when they travel to Minnesota Friday to face the Gophers. The 'Cats will continue their first trek outside of Chicagoland Sunday when they take on Ohio State at noon.