by Callie Counsellor (@CCounsellor)
Player of the game: Bradley goalkeeper Brian Billings tallied seven saves while allowing only one goal to give his team a 3-1 upset over Northwestern Wednesday night. Six of them came after halftime, allowing his team to turn a one-goal deficit into a two-goal victory.
Gamer-changer: Leading 2-1 in the middle of the second half, Bradley committed a foul in the box, setting up a penalty kick for the Wildcats. Senior midfielder Chris Ritter, who converted a penalty kick to tie the game on Sunday against Michigan State, sent a shot to the left side of the net but Billings made the save, preserving a lead that the Cats were unable to overcome.
Stat of the day: NU held an 18-11 advantage in shots, yet still lost by two goals. “Even though we did a lot of things we wanted to do with the ball, you can’t give up three goals and win a game,” coach Tim Lenahan said. “Nobody really cares if you play good soccer and you’ve got the ball and you get more shots and get more corners. We knew the game would go that way, exactly that way, but they were able to make the most of their chances and we did not.”
Silver lining: NU freshman defender Henry Herrill scored his first career goal to give the Cats a short-lived lead near the end of the first half.
What it means: The Cats, who dropped from No. 14 to No. 22 in the Coaches poll after its loss to DePaul last week, will most likely drop out of the top 25 with this loss. It also put NU (7-2-2, 2-0-0) one game behind Indiana (8-2-1, 2-0-0) for the Big Ten lead.
What’s next: In possibly its toughest game of the season, NU (7-2-2) will return home next Tuesday to take on No. 10 Notre Dame (9-2-0), who has lost to only Louisville and No. 2 Connecticut. “We just gotta get a little bit tougher in the box,” Lenahan said of his team’s preparation for the Fighting Irish. “We’re giving up too easy of goals in the box. And we gotta make plays. It’s not about creating opportunities to make plays, it’s about making plays.”