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Fall sports: Weekend Wrap, 10/17

While our football team got a Jake Duzey of a kick to the Marvin McNutt, thanks in large part to miscommunicating their defensive Mika'il McCalls in the secondary, relegating their domination of Iowa to the Broderick Binns of history (Dakota Getz no love in this wordplay), our other fall sports teams were doing some winning and losing of their own.

Our men's soccer team continued its hot streak, field hockey had the week off, volleyball and women's soccer struggled, and cross country did lots of running. Let's get to the recaps:

MEN'S SOCCER: Looks like we have a contender in football, the hands-free version. After starting the season 1-3-1, the Wildcats have gone 6-1-2, including two wins last week: 2-0 over nonconference foe Northern Illinois on Wednesday, and 1-0 over Big Ten bottom dweller Penn State on Sunday. The win against the Nittany Lions was NU's first ever road victory against Penn State.

NU's 2-0-1 Big Ten record is good for second place, midway through the conference season. The NSCAA weekly poll comes out tomorrow; in last week's poll, Indiana was the lone ranked Big Ten team, coming in at No. 18.

Freshman Nikko Boxall was honored as the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week, after scoring a goal against Northern Illinois and then helping the Wildcats shut out Penn State. Senior forward Oliver Kupe is fourth in the Big Ten, with six goals on the year, while goalkeeper Tyler Miller ranks second in goals-against-average at 0.74.

The Wildcats take on non-conference foe Loyola-Chicago at home on Wednesday, then host Big Ten leader Wisconsin on Sunday, in a match that will be shown on BTN.

VOLLEYBALL: Big Ten life is proving to be hard slogging for the Wildcats, as they dropped two more matches this past week, 3-2 to No. 20 Michigan and 3-1 to Michigan State. NU has lost seven of its last eight games, dropping its record to 10-9 overall, 1-7 Big Ten.

The road doesn't get any easier, as the Wildcats on Wednesday will host undefeated No. 1 Illinois. NU then heads to Iowa on Saturday.  In all, seven Big Ten teams are ranked in this week's AVCA poll.

Middle blocker Katie Dutchman was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player and Co-Freshman of the Week, after racking up 18 blocks in the Wildcats' two matches, along with three service aces and seven digs.

FIELD HOCKEY: The Wildcats had the week off to stew over their three-game losing streak. Once ranked as high as No. 14, the Wildcats sat at No. 19 in last week's poll.

NU will look to regain its mojo at home on Friday against non-conference foe Pacific, and on Saturday against Iowa. NU is tied for sixth in the seven-team Big Ten, at 10-6 overall, 1-3 in conference. Six conference teams, led by No. 5 Penn State, were in the NFHCA top 20 last week.

WOMEN'S SOCCER: The Wildcats' struggles continue, with the team dropping a 1-0 game to Minnesota on Sunday, although NU did pull out a 1-1 tie against conference-leading Wisconsin on Friday. With the results, NU dropped to 2-12-1 overall, 1-6-1 in the Big Ten.

If there's a silver lining to the season, it's all the experience that the young team is getting. Freshman goalkeeper Anna Cassell continued her solid season in net, facing barrages of shots, while fellow freshman Niki Sebo scored the Wildcats' lone goal on the week.

NU next faces Illinois at home on Thursday, before hitting the road to face Iowa on Sunday. The Big Ten has just one team ranked in the latest poll: No. 15 Penn State.

CROSS COUNTRY: The Wildcats placed 31st out of 44 teams at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Friday, finishing ahead of Big Ten foes Purdue and Illinois. Junior Audrey Huth continues to lead the team, placing 22nd at the meet with a time of 20:37 over the 6k course.

Next up is the Illini Open on Friday, before the Big Ten championships on Oct. 30.