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Soccer: Men stumble with two shutout losses, women split a pair

The two teams are trending in opposite directions.

Both the men’s and women’s Northwestern soccer teams had up-and-down weeks, with the men being shut out by both Lehigh and Bowling Green to fall to 1-3, while the women notched a victory over Cincinnati but fell to Harvard on Sunday, moving to 2-3-1.

After a solid opening weekend against power conference opponents, goal scoring has continued to plague Tim Lenahan’s squad. Falling 2-0 to Lehigh and 3-0 to Bowling Green at home was not the momentum this squad hoped to build after earning its first win of the season over Pittsburgh. The team has found the back of the net just once in its first four contests.

Lehigh opened the scoring in the 13th minute and capped it off in the 82nd with an insurance goal. The Mountain Hawks outshot NU 15-6, and goalkeeper Miha Miskovic made five saves.

In a game in which Northwestern actually outshot Bowling Green, the scoreline did not reflect that. The Eagles did their damage in the middle part of the contest, scoring thrice between the 20th and 70th minutes.

NU scored just 1.2 goals per game last year, and Miskovic averaged 4.25 saves per outing. He bore a lot of weight, as the Wildcat offense forced opposing keepers to make only 2.65 saves per game. This year’s early returns have shown that he will be busy once again, but his stat line has taken a bit of a hit.

The ‘Cats will try for their second result Thursday at Western Illinois before finishing the directional state tour at home against Eastern Illinois on Sunday.

Michael Moynihan’s team, meanwhile, followed up its first two results of the season with an encouraging road win over Cincinnati. First-year Paige Miller broke the ice in the 10th minute with her first career goal, and junior Nia Harris, now Northwestern’s active leader in points (8) and goals (4), added another in the 68th minute. Mackenzie Wood, NU’s all-conference goalie from a year ago, logged her first clean sheet with four saves.

The Wildcats finished their road trip at Harvard, where they dropped the Sunday matchup 2-0. Despite mustering 11 shots, NU put just two on net, and a career-tying 10 saves from Wood was not enough to salvage a point.

Though Northwestern is outshooting its opponents by roughly 2.5 shots per game this season, it has scored on just under nine percent of its shots while its opponents have scored on nearly 21 percent on their shots. That has to do with Northwestern struggling with its aim on offense and Wood’s scuffles, mainly in the season’s first two games.

This year represents a likely rebuilding year for Moynihan, who lost a large class of seniors to graduation. A team that lost just five games all of last year has already lost three, and its final non-conference matchup is at home versus no. 18 Kansas on Friday. Conference play opens up against Illinois on September 20.