Nov. 27, 2007
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The 2007 campaign was a special season for Northwestern women's soccer. NU opened a brand new Lakeside Field, several offensive records fell, and despite stellar years by several departing seniors, many pieces are set to return from a team that earned NCAA tournament consideration in Stephanie Erickson's second year at the helm.
NU's record books look very different than they did before the season began. Kelsey Hans, who finished her career with 38 goals and 83 points, passed Erickson for both of those career marks during 2007 -- a season where Hans netted 10 goals and racked up 24 points.
Another departing senior, goalkeeper Lauren Johnston, also etched her name in the Wildcat record books despite only playing two seasons in Evanston. She is now first on NU's all-time list with nine total shutouts and is third all-time with 15 total shutouts and fourth all-time in career minutes played.
Senior Shannon Schneeman, one of the 2007 captains, wrapped up a terrific Northwestern career with her best offensive season. Schneeman registered career-highs with nine goals and 20 points. Despite a freshman season where she only scored one goal and an injury that forced her to miss all of 2005, Schneeman ended her career tied for third on NU's all-time goals list and fourth on NU's all-time list with 51 career points.
NU's season began in dramatic fashion with a 1-0 triumph over Drake in the first of five overtime matches of 2007. Alicia Herczeg scored the game-winner in the 94th minute and Lauren Johnston made five saves to pick up the shutout -- her first of four solo shutouts on the year.
After settling for a split on their season-opening weekend, the Wildcats stayed on the road for a pair of contests in Florida against UNC-Greensboro and Florida Atlantic.
NU trailed by one after the first half against UNCG, but senior Shannon Schneeman scored two of her nine goals -- including her first of five game-winners -- to tie the game and then give the Wildcats the victory. Kelsey Hans got on the board with her first of her team-leading 10 goals of 2007 to propel the 'Cats past Florida Atlantic and give them a 2-0 road trip.
After playing its first four games on the road, the Wildcats' home opener against Loyola (Chicago) on September 12 was a game of great significance for the women's soccer program. Although many of the trimmings would come later in the year, the game marked the first soccer game of any kind on Northwestern's new Lakeside Field.
The Wildcats opened their new digs in style with a 3-0 win over the Ramblers. However, the milestones would not end with the opening of the facility. Hans' goal at 46:01 -- the 30th of her career -- put her ahead of Erickson on NU's all-time career goals list.
NU's home stand continued with a pair of 1-1 ties against Penn and Colgate. Against Colgate, sophomore Katherine Sampson scored her first career goal as time expired in regulation with the 'Cats trailing 1-0 to force overtime.
The non-conference season ended at home with matches against St. Francis (Pa.) and Wright State. Hans passed Erickson for NU's all-time career points record with a goal against St. Francis in a 3-0 win, but NU fell 1-0 to Wright State to end the non-conference schedule.
NU opened Big Ten play on the road against two conference powers in Indiana and Purdue. The 'Cats trailed the Hoosiers 2-0, but came back to take a 3-2 lead on goals by Hans and Schneeman, but Indiana managed to escape with a 4-3 win in the Big Ten opener.
After falling to Purdue to close the opening conference weekend, the Wildcats returned home and defeated Ohio State, 2-0, for their first Big Ten win of the year. Schneeman and Krystal Patterson scored goals and Johnston picked up her second shutout of the season in the dominating victory.
NU took a 1-0 lead over eventual Big Ten champion Penn State on freshman Jennifer Baumann's first career goal, but the Nittany Lions powered past the 'Cats with three second-half goals to take the 3-1 win and give the Wildcats a split in their second weekend of Big Ten play.
Despite starting Big Ten season 1-3, the Wildcats showed their muscle down the stretch, racking up three wins and two ties in their last six games. The stretch started on the road with a 0-0 tie against eventual NCAA tournament participant Illinois. Johnston made six saves for the shutout.
NU's shutout streak reached 228:04 after another 0-0 tie against Michigan in Ann Arbor in a game televised by the Big Ten Network.
After a stretch of low-scoring soccer, the Wildcats' offense erupted to close their Michigan road trip with a 4-0 win over Michigan State. Herczeg scored the game-winner in the 11th minute while NU picked up its third-straight shutout.
NU's streak of 388:44 of shutout soccer ended in their second to last weekend of the regular season at the hands of Minnesota at Lakeside Field. Minnesota scored late in the second half to take the 1-0 win. However, with the Big Ten Network cameras again looking on, the Wildcats put on another offensive display to close the weekend in a 3-0 win over Iowa. Schneeman, Hans and Herczeg all scored goals.
The Wildcats' regular season finale marked another first for the women's soccer program as the 'Cats hosted their first ever night game at Lakeside Field. Seniors shined on Senior Night under the lights as Schneeman and Hans again netted goals and the Wildcats cruised to a 3-0 win over Wisconsin to close the regular season.
Freshman Sam Greene scored her third goal of the year and three of NU's goalkeepers saw action. Fifth-year senior Leslie Gittings saw one save in her last action as a Wildcat.
With the No. 7 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, the Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the opening minute over Purdue with a Hans' goal. However, the Boilermakers rattled off three unanswered goals to eliminate the Wildcats with a 3-1 victory. The tournament appearance was the second in Erickson's two seasons at the helm.
Although the 'Cats entered the discussions of the NCAA Tournament committee, the Wildcats did not receive an at-large bid.
While the Wildcats say goodbye to eight seniors: Caitlin Carr, Leslie Gittings, Kelsey Hans, Danielle Iordanou, Lauren Johnston, Stephanie Krutsch, Shannon Schneeman and Kelly Sitkowski, NU welcomes back plenty of offensive firepower and a solid defensive core. Freshmen Sam Greene and Jennifer Baumann enjoyed strong seasons while sophomore Alicia Herczeg improved her offensive production.
Defensively, Laura Janowitsch, who notched four assists from the back line, returns for her senior season. NU will also get back a shut down defender in Leigh Jakes who missed all of 2007 due to injury. Jakes was a member of the Big Ten's all-freshman team in 2006. In goal, Carolyn Edwards saw time in four games during her freshman campaign and got seasoning at the collegiate level.
In total, the 'Cats lose only four of 11 starters -- but 19 of the team's 31 goals and the starting goalkeeper from 2007. The 'Cats improved on their overall win total from a year ago and finished a spot higher in the Big Ten standings in their coach's second season.
The Wildcats continued to improve as the season progressed -- Posting a 4-2-3 record to close the regular season that included close to 400 minutes of shutout soccer. With a new stadium set to host more night games, and plenty of weapons returning, things are certainly looking up for the Wildcats.