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Northwestern non-revenue sports: Field hockey, volleyball, soccer updates

Field hockey bounces back, volleyball sweeps, and both soccer teams go 1-0-1.

It was a busy few days for Northwestern athletics. Here’s what you need to know:

Field Hockey

After Friday’s 4-2 loss to the top team in the country, the 12th-ranked Wildcats looked to bounce back against No. 15 Stanford. The Cardinal, who had lost to UConn as well on Saturday, were vying for their first win as well, and came out strong, getting off five shots and earning three penalty corners in the first ten minutes. But Northwestern came storming back, and amid consistent pressure it was Kirsten Mansfield deflecting in a Puck Pentenga pass off of a penalty corner for the game’s opening score.

Dominating possession for the rest of the first half and the start of the second, it was only a matter of time before the Wildcats doubled their lead. This time Lily Katzman scored, off a series of deflections.

But the 90 degree heat began to get to the Wildcats, who slowly but surely let Stanford back into the game. For a fifteen minute stretch, Stanford put on consistent pressure, finally breaking through on the fourth in a series of penalty corners. Then, just seven minutes later, the Cardinal beat Annie Kalfas again off of a corner, with the junior goalkeeper thoroughly screened off as another penalty corner created a shot that ended up in the back of the net.

Northwestern took over again to close out the game and for most of the first period of overtime (played seven per side instead of eleven), but couldn’t break through, and Kalfas was still forced to make two key stops. But despite hustling around the field for the entire game, Pentenga had one more burst left in her three minutes into the second overtime. The All-American senior created space before laying it off to Saar De Breij, who put it in the back of the net after a nifty move.

Though they were thoroughly tested, and did allow a comeback, the Wildcats managed to come away with a crucial first win. They will travel east to College Park to face No. 3 Duke and No. 13 Boston College in the field hockey version of the ACC/B1G challenge next week.


Northwestern kicked off their season at the Panther Invitational, knocking off host Milwaukee along with South Dakota and New Hampshire to win the tournament, each match lasting four sets. Despite significant losses from last year leaving them without a single senior, the Wildcats simply outclassed their lower-conference opponents. First years Kiara McNulty and Abryanna Cannon along with sophomore Alana Walker were named to the tournament’s first team.

Early scuffling from Northwestern was a theme in each match, but the Wildcats finished things off convincingly every time: set four against South Dakota finished 25-20, while the final sets against Milwaukee and New Hampshire each finished 25-16. Up next, the team will travel to Hamilton, New York for the Ellis Rowland Memorial Tournament, where they will face Princeton, Colgate, and Stephen F. Austin. The relatively light non-conference tune-ups should help the young squad build confidence, but it will be difficult for what is in essence a rebuilding team under coach Shane Davis to take the next step this year in the toughest conference in the country. For now, though, the Wildcats are 3-0.

Women’s Soccer

Rocketing up to No. 19 in the most recent coaches poll after last week’s demolition of Wake Forest, Northwestern was feeling pretty good about themselves entering two Big 12 clashes in the Boilermaker Challenge Cup. They kicked things off with another dominant performance. The final scoreline read 1-0, with Kayleigh Stahlschmidt’s 43rd minute goal off of a pass from first year Haley Lawson (Jenny Haskel got the secondary assist), but the Wildcats far outpaced the Cyclones in shots (11-3), shots on goal (4-1), and corners (9-1).

With business taken care of in Game 1, Northwestern turned to their first ranked test of the season in West Virginia. The Mountaineers peppered shot after shot on first year goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood, but the Indiana native shined under the pressure. Wood needed to make just one save against Iowa State for the clean sheet, but to record her third shutout in a row she was forced into 10 saves on 32 total shots. Northwestern was heavily outshot, getting just two on goal, but the defense showed up to back Wood and they caught a couple breaks, with two West Virginia shots hitting the crossbar. Regardless the Wildcats remained unbeaten with a 0-0 draw.

Wood’s masterful performance earned her the tournament’s defensive MVP, with Kayla Sharples and Regan Steigleder joining her on the all-tournament team, mainly for the pair’s defensive efforts (Sharples garnered the Big Ten’s defensive player of the week award for her work in the season’s opening contests as well). After their 110 minute marathon, the Wildcats will travel to Missouri on Thursday. The game can be found on SEC+.

Men’s Soccer

In their season-opening weekend, Northwestern men’s soccer turned in a win and a draw as well, though they did it against slightly less intimidating competition. A season-opening 3-0 win against Cleveland Set saw the Wildcats control things from start to finish despite the Vikings having the majority of the possession. Freshman Bardia Kimiavi tallied the opener, with Garrett Opperman, a unanimous member of last year’s Big Ten All-Freshman Team, and Camden Buescher, a preseason Big Ten honoree, providing the other two goals. Miha Miscovic earned his first career clean sheet, facing just one shot on goal in the process.

Northwestern’s Sunday matchup with Xavier was more of a grind. The Musketeers, who narrowly missed the postseason last year despite three wins over ranked teams, controlled the ball for nearly the entire game. The Wildcats were outshot 22-3 and didn’t get a shot on frame, though Kimiavi did make a bid for a goal early in the second half, sending a curler just wide of the far post after some impressive ball handling. But Xavier got just five attempts on net themselves, and thanks to a big first-half save from Miscovic, commitment to their deep-lying setup, a little bit of crossbar luck of their own, and excellent individual defending (led by Andrew McLeod and the aforementioned Opperman), Northwestern escaped with a scoreless draw of their own.

Next, the Wildcats will travel to Madison to take on Valparaiso and Fordham, as they try to prepare for a Big Ten season that will be, as always, laden with significant challenges.