Oct. 17, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern battled Illinois Thursday night at Lakeside Field and despite the early 1-0 lead, the nation's leading goal scorer came up with a hat trick as the Illini took the 3-1 victory. Illinois forward Janelle Flaws came into Thursday's match tied for second in the nation in scoring and her three goals put her at 18 this season to lead the country.
The Wildcats had a number of quality scoring opportunities, including two that hit the crossbar and a number of looks from close range that were saved, outshooting the Illini 15-9. Senior forward Kate Allen led NU with five shots while senior midfielder Julie Sierks added four and was the goal-scorer for the Wildcats. The duo combined for nine of NU's 15 shots and four of the eight shots on goal.
"In all honesty, we beat them last year, but we out-played them more tonight, so that’s what’s hard to take," Northwestern head coach Michael Moynihan said. "I thought through the run of play we were fantastic. I thought Julie was unbelievable in the midfield, Margo (McGinty) had a nice game, and so did Nicole Jewell in the midfield. We were known for playing direct a few years ago and Illinois was the pretty team. Today I thought we were the pretty team and we didn’t get the result. I was very happy with the number of chances we created and I thought their goalkeeper had a few unbelievable saves. We’re close and it’s on us to do better with the chances we create. The spirit, effort, quality of play, everything, I thought was there, we just didn’t get the result."
The match started with two good chances in the early minutes as each squad had a shot that hit the crossbar. Illinois took the first look of the match at the 1:06 mark that hit the bar but it bounced down without a rebound opportunity for the visitors. Shortly after, Allen fired off a shot that also hit the crossbar. The Wildcats were unable to get a rebound shot, but did have a corner kick opportunity that eventually set up the first goal of the match.
Nicole Jewell took the corner kick on the far side of the field. The ball eventually found Mary Erikson who sent a pass to Addie Steiner for a header inside the box. Steiner's shot was saved by Illinois keeper Claire Wheatley, but she mishandled the save and the ball fell in front of Sierks as she knocked one in from inside the 6-yard box to give Northwestern the 1-0 lead at the 4:06 mark. It was the third goal of the season for Sierks who made her fourth appearance in the starting lineup this year. Sierks is now tied for the team lead in goals with Allen and Katie Landgrebe.
The Wildcats had another scoring opportunity shortly after the goal as Wheatley saved Nicole Jewell's shot. Northwestern controlled the run of play for the early part of the first half and had the 4-1 advantage on shots.
About 19 minutes after their first shot that hit the crossbar, the Fighting Illini had their second look of the match, which found the back of the net to tie things up at 1-1. Illinois had a free kick opportunity as Kassidy Brown sent the kick to Flaws who slipped one past NU freshman goalkeeper Jenna Hascher. Illinois then increased its lead to 2-1 at the 24:03 mark with another goal from Flaws.
NU held the 6-5 edge on shots in the first half and 3-1 mark on corner kicks. Wheatley saved three shots while Hascher came up with two saves.
Flaws then completed her hat trick just over five minutes into the third with a shot from long range to the left post. The Wildcats continued to have a number of quality scoring opportunities as Sierks had another look that went just wide of the left post, one that Wheatley saved just over the bar to set up an NU corner kick and another shot that hit the crossbar in the 75th minute.
Freshman Rachel Zampa played her fourth game of the season and had the final look of the game for Northwestern, another one that was within striking distance. Steiner crossed a pass into Zampa who had a header from just inside the six. Wheatley again came up with the save, pushing it over the crossbar to set up an NU's final corner kick of the game. The 'Cats were unable to convert on the corner, putting the final score at 3-1.
Northwestern had the 9-4 advantage on shots in the second and had four corner kicks while the Illini did not have a single corner in the second half. Wheatley finished with seven saves compared to four for Hascher.
The Wildcats now hit the road for a Sunday afternoon match against Ohio State. Match time is set for 11 a.m. CT in Columbus, Ohio.
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