After watching an entire day’s worth of rain and wondering whether there would be playable conditions, No. 20 Northwestern (14-1-3) women’s soccer did indeed get on the Lanny and Sharon Martin Stadium turf on the shores of Lake Michigan and pulled out a 1-0 win over Illinois (6-11-2) in extra time, giving the hosts a share of their first-ever Big Ten regular season championship. Kayla Sharples scored the sudden-death winner for the Wildcats.
After a fairly balanced 90 minutes (Northwestern held a 11-10 lead in shots), the two in-state rivals went into extra time. Eight minutes into the additional period, Sharples was able to poke it into the back of the net off a corner kick from Marisa Viggiano. The ball bounced around in the box before the sophomore defender pushed it just past the line.
Northwestern has only conceded one goal over the past seven matches, and senior goalkeeper Lauren Clem was in fine form again, earning her 36th career shutout.
Here’s what head coach Michael Moynihan and players Nandi Mehta and Kassidy Gorman had to say after the game.
The Wildcats will host Nebraska in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament at 3 p.m. CT on Oct. 30.