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Northwestern non-revenue sport update: Women's soccer caps strong season, advances to second round of championship while winter sports get underway

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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

We try to roll out this non-revenue sports update once every two weeks or so. Sometimes we're more successful than others. Right now, it's reading week here at Northwestern, fall sports haven't completely ended (how 'bout Pat Fitzgerald's bunch?!), and winter sports are just getting underway. Here is a look back at historic season for the women's soccer team, as well a look ahead to some of the winter sports.

Women's Soccer

The women's soccer team's season came to a screeching halt Nov. 20 with a 4-0 loss to a talented West Virginia team in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the year-end championship.

The team had been playing well of late, having won four of their previous five by a combined 9-1. The lone setback occurred in a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal to a Michigan team that would, incidentally, fail to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Head coach Michael Moynihan was pleased with the team's effort, both during this, their first NCAA tournament bid since 1998 and the season as a whole, calling No. 2 seed West Virginia "probably the best team we have seen all year." Indeed, the Mountaineers looked a strong team in this tournament, taking an average margin of victory of almost four goals into the quarterfinals before running into a strong Penn State team.

Still, the scoreline was not indicative of the team's season, marked by the continued progress of the team under Moynihan, in his third year at the helm. The team finished 14-6-2 overall to go along with a stellar 7-3 record in the conference, good for fourth in the competitive Big Ten.

"Our senior class has shown so much character, and built the road map for the younger girls moving forward," Moynihan said, complimenting the outgoing seniors--the most successful Wildcats in years. "We have shown so much resilience and a tremendous work ethic, and our expectations have risen tremendously."

Powering this year's team was the defense, a unit that recorded 13 shutouts on the season, including one against their first-round foe, Washington State. Lauren Clem, the team's young goalkeeper, had a tremendous season in the net, heading a defense that allowed only a .530 goal-against-average, ranking in the NCAA's top-10 in that category.

Coach Moynihan has built a strong program in his three years in charge and a foundation seems to be set that shows promise for years to come. Posting a better record in each season here in Evanston, the team and its supporters look set for strong play in the seasons to come.

Wrestling

The wrestling team has been paced early in the season by strong play from senior Dominick Malone as the Wildcats opened up their 100th season of play at the annual Michigan State Open. Malone went 4-1 at the tournament, while fellow senior Jameson Oster opened the season in fine form, winning his first three matches in impressive fashion. Freshman Anthony Rubinetti also wrestled well in the freshmen/sophomore division, winning four matches and finishing fourth place in the tournament.

The team also performed well in its dual-season opener, Grapple at the Garden, last Sunday in New York. The fourth annual event, held at Madison Square Garden, saw Northwestern take on Franklin & Marshall and Drexel. The team managed a split, beating the latter while forming to the former. Malone continued his impressive start, contributing to the 'Cats 30-18 victory with a pin and a win by fall. Redshirt freshman Bryce Brill also performed well, winning both of his matches. Luke Norland, a promising freshman from Iowa, won his first two matches of his college career, both come-from-behind victories.

Swimming

The women's swimming and diving team has come out of the gate strong, posting four straight victories in head-to-head competitions before falling to a No. 18 Wisconsin that gradually stretched their lead throughout the event. The Wildcats rebounded quickly, however, winning first overall in TYR Invitational as the host team for the three day event, which took place Nov. 20-22.

On the final day, Sunday, Northwestern posted three NCAA 'B' cuts and broke a Norris Aquatics pool record in the 100 free. Overall, the team earned six 'B' cuts and broke two pool records.

The diving team also had a strong weekend. Freshman Olivia Rosendahl placed first in all three diving competitions followed by three more Wildcats–Mashal Hashem, fellow freshman Eryn Scannell and Monique Demaisip, respectively.

The men's side of things is more up and down; the team lost their first, before rattling off three dual-meet victories at an event hosted by the University of Chicago. After that, the Wildcats lost four straight head-to-heads before having some team members place well at the TYR Invitational Nov. 20-22. Diver Andrew Cramer won two titles over the weekend, placing first in the three-meter diving board as well as the platform. The next best finish was senior Grant Halsall's second-place time of 50.43.

Fencing

The women's fencing team has compiled a strong start to the season, going 17-4 thus far in four events. The team's past two duals have been particularly impressive. Two weeks ago, the Wildcats played well in going 6-1 at the Vassar Duals, their only loss coming by the slimmest of margins to Cornell. On Nov. 21, the team competed in the Elite Cup Duals, going 3-2 against strong competition. One of the schools beaten included reigning champion Columbia, with a thrilling 14-13 result. The team also beat Ohio State by one while handily defeated John Hopkins, 25-2. The team does not compete next for more than a month. Head coach Laurie Schiller will be hoping this momentum can carry into the new year.