March 31, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern women's soccer went toe-to-toe with eleven of the top female soccer players in the world Wednesday, equaling the Chicago Red Stars for half of their 45-minute exhibition before eventually falling, 2-0, before 257 fans at Lakeside Field.
The match was the opening exhibition of the Wildcats' seven-game spring season.
Goalkeeper Carolyn Edwards (Lincolnshire, Ill./Stevenson) made a pair of fantastic saves against the professionals, including coming out of the six-yard box to challenge a hard-charging Ella Masar and prevent the U.S. Women's National Team pool player from scoring. Edwards also made a brilliant diving stop on an attempt from Lydia Vandenbergh.
Masar scored both of the Red Stars' goals in the contest, with the assist on each coming from Brazilian striker Cristiane. Good defense from Nicole Duller (Los Altos, Calif./Los Altos) and Briana Westlund (Cottage Grove, Minn./Park) helped the 'Cats maintain a two-goal deficit in the final minutes of the match.
"I was pleased with the effort we put forth tonight against world-class competition," said Northwestern Head Coach Stephanie Erickson. "I thought we showed great poise and fight throughout the match against the Red Stars. Our players had a tremendous opportunity tonight to face a Women's Professional Soccer team, and they played very well."
Northwestern also battled DePaul to a 0-0 draw. Grace Weitz (Golden Valley, Minn./The Breck School) made a great move to punch a shot over the crossbar in the ninth minute, eliminating the Blue Demons' strongest scoring chance of the game.
The 'Cats best opportunity of the night came on a free kick from sophomore Jill Dunn (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley), but DePaul goalkeeper Claire Hanold made a diving stop to corral the shot.
The Red Stars topped DePaul, 4-0, in the other match of the evening.
NU returns to action on Saturday, April 10, when they host DePaul, Northern Illinois and the University of Chicago in a four-team series. A complete schedule can be found by clicking here.