Oct. 6, 2012
Site: Lakeside Field (Evanston, Ill.)
Score: No. 23 Michigan 2, Northwestern 0
Records: NU (4-8-2, 0-6-0 B1G), Michigan (11-2-1, 5-0-1 B1G)
Next NU Event: Friday, Oct. 12 at Wisconsin - 7 p.m. CT - Madison, Wis.
EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern took on No. 23 Michigan Saturday night at Lakeside Field and the Wolverines tallied two well-crafted goals to take the match, 2-0. Michigan's Nkem Ezurike was one of the highest-scoring players in the Big Ten heading into Saturday's match and finished both goals for the Wolverines.
"Nobody likes to lose, but as I look at this game, Michigan is 23rd in the country, they're ranked high in the region, they're second in the Big Ten right now and we were right there," Northwestern head coach Michael Moynihan said. "We just have to keep working, that's all there is. I told the team `You're on the right track, you just have to keep working hard and the W's will start to come, goals will start to fall in.' But we have to earn it because nobody is going to give it to us.
"I think if we look at the positives, there were great tactical adjustments that we were able to make as we played. I thought it was the hardest I've seen our midfield work in terms of tracking and recovering and they showed a little bit of a different mentality, which was much improved. I thought the defenders were starting to make a lot better decisions and there's a lot to build from. So we just have to keep working and hopefully things start to fall in our favor but you have to earn it."
Freshman Rachel Bergman started in net tonight for the Wildcats. She had a busy first half, making three saves off of the Wolverines' 10 shots. Ezurike tallied her first goal in the 18th minute as her look from from the near left side just went over Bergman's fingertips and under the crossbar into the net. Tori McCombs was in on the assist.
NU had its chances in the first half with six shots. Sophomore midfielder Sami Schrakamp subbed into the match at 24:12 and shortly after, she had a header shot that went wide at 24:44. Junior forward Kate Allen had two more looks for the Wildcats as her shot in the 27th minute was stopped by Michigan keeper Haley Kopmeyer, but went out of bounds, setting up an NU corner kick. Freshman defender Jennifer Korn sent the corner kick into Allen who had another look that went high and wide to the left.
The Wildcats had two more looks the rest of the first half when Korn's free kick went high and freshman midfielder Margo McGinty had another that was blocked.
Michigan then added to its lead shortly after halftime as Ezurike tallied her second goal of the match and eighth of the season at 51:01. Cassie Collins and McCombs assisted on the goal.
"She is something special," Moynihan said regarding Ezurike. "Just a real physical, strong presence, holds the ball, and I thought the quality of her goals were fantastic. You don't see that too often. We had looks every bit as good as what she had and she made it look easy. Those types of players can be the difference in the game."
The NU defense limited Michigan to five shots in the second half and Bergman made two more saves to finish with five for the match. NU's had two looks in the second half, the first coming off a free kick. A Michigan handball gave NU the free kick about 25 yards out and Allen's shot sailed high over the crossbar. Freshman defender Natalie Cikos had Northwestern's best look of the match in the 87th minute when her shot to the far post from inside the 6-yard box just missed wide left.
Michigan finished the match with the 15-8 advantage on shots while Bergman had a season-high five saves compared to Kopmeyer's two. Michigan finished with the slight 4-3 edge on corner kicks and the Wolverines were whistled for 19 fouls compared to just seven for Northwestern.
The Wildcats continue Big Ten action on the road next weekend, visiting Wisconsin, Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. and then at Minnesota, Sunday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.
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