Oct. 27, 2012
Site: DeMartin Soccer Complex (East Lansing, Mich.)
Score: Northwestern - 1, Michigan State - 0
Records: NU (7-10-2, 3-8-0 B1G), MSU (8-9-2, 2-8-1 B1G)
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Northwestern played its final game of the 2012 season Saturday and ended the year on a positive note, recording the 1-0 shutout of Michigan State. Saturday's win not only marked NU's third straight Big Ten victory but also the 200th career victory for Wildcat head coach Michael Moynihan.
"It was a great win to end the season," Moynihan said. "We ended the season with all of our seniors on the field and I thought it was a nice tribute to them and the leadership that they've shown and the progress that we've made this season; it all just kind of came together. I feel like we've come a long way and it's nice to get this little three game winning streak in the Big Ten to show something for our efforts. I thought getting another shutout on the road was fantastic. Our defense really stepped up as the season went on and got on the same page and we became more cohesive as a group. (Goalkeeper) Anna (Cassell) had a couple of really strong games here down the stretch. There are a lot of things to build on and again it was a great way to end the season and build towards the future."
The first-year NU coach entered Saturday's match with 199 career wins that spanned over his 16 years as a head coach. The Wildcats made sure Moynihan didn't have to wait until 2013 to record win No. 200 as sophomore midfielder Niki Sebo's goal in the 19th minute proved to be the game-winner.
Assistant coach David Nikolic can also celebrate the 200-win milestone as he has been a part of Moynihan's coaching staff for the last 16 seasons.
Northwestern got off a strong start against the Spartans as junior defender Nicole Jewell's
shot just 41 seconds into the match went wide. Junior forward Kate Allen
had another look in the fourth minute that also went wide.
MSU then picked up the pace with four shots, including three on goal that were all saved by Cassell.
Sebo then found the back of the net for the Wildcats at the 18:32 mark. Sophomore midfielder Katie Gancedo sent a cross to Sebo who knocked it in for her fifth goal of the season. Gancedo recorded her first career point on the assist.
NU had one more shot the rest of the half while MSU had two chances, one that went high and another that Cassell stopped.
The Wildcats had six shots and limited MSU to just four looks in the second half. Jewell fired off another shot on goal in the 63rd minute and Allen again in the 67th minute but MSU keeper Courtney Clem saved both looks.
MSU had its last look of the match in the 84th minute, which went high over the crossbar, and NU hung on for the shutout victory, its second in as many matches.
Northwestern finished with the 11-10 edge on shots and 4-3 mark on corner kicks. Cassell saved all six shots she faced while Clem finished with three stops.
Though Saturday was the final match of the 2012 season, the Wildcats had a notable finish to the season, winning their last three Big Ten contests while allowing just one goal in that span, which came off a penalty kick. In his first season, Moynihan guided Northwestern to a five-win improvement from 2011 and also a two-game jump in Big Ten wins from a year ago.
"The team worked extremely hard throughout the season and started to believe and I think it's something to springboard into next season," Moynihan added. "I'm very happy with the way they showed a lot of character coming off some of the tough losses that we had earlier in the Big Ten season and rebounding. They just kept playing and fighting and I loved that."
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