The No. 3 Wildcats have some home action on Friday as they’ll host another doubleheader after starting off the season strong with a 2-0 record last weekend. Northwestern came out hot in their home opener, dominating Detroit Mercy 30-3, and then followed that up with a 24-20 win over No. 20 Duke on the road.
Tonight, the ‘Cats host No. 7 Notre Dame with the chance to secure what would be a massive win over a top 10. On Sunday, they’ll welcome the Arizona State Sun Devils to Ryan Fieldhouse.
One of the biggest matchups to watch between in tonight’s Top 10 matchup teams is in the draw circle — junior Andie Aldave is arguably one of the best midfielders in the country and will likely be starting at the draw against Northwestern’s Brennan Dwyer.
Last season, Aldave helped lead the Irish to a draw control percentage of 63.6%, which was second in the nation in 2019. Aldave was named to the initial 2020 Tewaaraton watch list with fellow midfielder Savannah Buchanan.
Another player the ‘Cats will need to watch out for is junior attacker Maddie Howe, the third Notre Dame player named to the watch list. Howe led the Irish offense in 2019 with 59 goals and 78 points. Luckily for NU, its veteran defense should have the experience and talent to handle the ND offense.
“We’ve been playing together for a few years now, and to bring back that experience is really important for us, and it’s working really well so far,” said junior goalkeeper Julie Krupnick about the ‘Cats defense.
On the flip side, Northwestern’s offense has stepped up in the absence of Selena Lasota and should give Notre Dame a tough time. Senior Lindsey McKone has been leading the unit along with sophomore midfielder Izzy Scane. The two had five goals apiece against Duke. After this strong start, McKone earned her first Big Ten Weekly honor of the season and was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
Scane, McKone and junior Lauren Gilbert were all named to the initial Tewaaraton watch list as well.
The Wildcats will close out the weekend with a matchup against Arizona State on Sunday. The unranked Sun Devils will travel to Evanston to face their highest-ranked opponent in the program’s short history. ASU is led by former Northwestern Assistant Coach Tim McCormack, who spent six seasons working under Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller.
After this weekend, Northwestern will continue its tough schedule, hosting Syracuse and Stanford the following Saturday and Sunday.