by Callie Counsellor (@CCOunsellor)
Player(s) of the game: The Northwestern defense held Loyola to only two shots through the entire game in a 2-0 victory Wednesday night. Both shots came late in the second half, as the Wildcats dominated nearly every aspect of the game. No. 24 NU didn’t let the torrential downpour stop them from running their game plan of keeping possession for as long as possible. “I thought we played pretty well defensively tonight,” coach Tim Lenahan said. “We were able to keep the ball so much today. With the wind, they didn’t get a shot off in the first half and I thought we did a pretty good job.”
Game-changer: Forward Joey Calistri powered a shot into the top right corner of the net just 15 minutes into the game, and the Cats never looked back. “We were coming out with a lot of energy and a lot of drive in the attacking third,” Calistri said. “We had a lot of possessions and we were very dynamic in our runs and we created some good chances but just the final touch we weren’t able to put them away and we kept them in the game a little. But we kept the ball for the majority of the game so we were able to make some good chances.” The freshman now leads the team with six goals.
Stat of the game: The Cats took 10 corner kicks in the match, including four in the first eight minutes of the game. Loyola took zero.
Raining Shots: Despite the slippery conditions, NU managed 16 shots, their second most of the season behind only an 18-shot effort in a 3-1 win over Bradley. “I thought we were pretty sharp on the ball today,” senior midfielder Chris Ritter said. “They kind of let us play.”
What it means: NU (10-2-2, 3-0-0 Big Ten) remained tied for the conference lead with Indiana (10-2-2, 3-0-0) after the Hoosiers played to a 2-2 draw against Louisville last week. Both teams have three matches remaining, including two conference opponents, before their much-anticipated match-up to finish the season.
What’s next: The Cats take on Penn State (8-4-2, 2-1-1) on Sunday at Lakeside Field and try to remain perfect in conference play.