by Callie Counsellor (@CCounsellor)
Game-changer: With just over three minutes left in the game, Louisville’s Dylan Mares hit a shot wide, but an NU defender deflected the ball into the goal, propelling No. 10 Louisville to a 2-1 win over Northwestern and a berth into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Fast start: Louisville’s Marlon Hairston scored the game’s first goal after just two and a half minutes of play. NU’s Jarrett Baughman answered a minute and a half later to tie the score. The two teams combined for five shots in the first nine minutes of action.
Player of the game: After the early goal from Louisville, defender Baughman responded with his first goal of the season. He tallied two shots on goal in this first half. The senior also anchored a Northwestern defense that held Louisville to nine shots for the match. The Cardinals averaged over 12 shots per game for the season but had averaged almost 14 shots in their last five games.
Honorable mention: NU goalkeeper Tyler Miller kept the Cats in the game with three saves, including a clutch save late in the game. With just over five minutes left, Louisville’s Mares broke away for a one-on-one match-up against Miller, who stretched out and just blocked the shot with his foot, keeping the game tied for the time being.
Stat of the game: The Cats had not scored a goal in the first half of a match since November 7 against Ohio State, the first game of the Big Ten Tournament.
What it means: Louisville will move on to play No. 2 Maryland in the quarterfinals. The Cats run in the NCAA Tournament ends in the third round. NU made it to the third round for the fourth time in seven years.
What’s next: For the six NU seniors, this game was their last in a Wildcat uniform. However, the Cats return 14 freshmen and sophomores, including the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in Joey Calistri, which will give them a solid foundation to make a run at a third consecutive Big Ten title next season.