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Women’s Soccer: Wildcats win three straight before opening Big Ten play with loss

There’s yet another road trip just around the corner.

@nuwsoccer on Twitter

Last time we checked in with the Northwestern women’s soccer team, the ladies had just returned to Martin Stadium after a road trip left them at 2-3 to start the season. Just about two weeks and nearly 8,500 undergraduates on the Evanston campus later, the Wildcats are at an even 4-4 after two wins versus in-state opponents Illinois State and DePaul and one loss against Big Ten opponent Iowa.

Still reeling from the excitement of the previous Kent State matchup in which NU notched an incredible 3-2 comeback, it just so happened that the Wildcats pulled off another exciting win against ISU, this time in overtime. While it could be argued that the 1-6 Redbirds should have been shut down earlier on, it was the Josie Aulicino show that eventually earned the ‘Cats their three points.

After a scoreless first half, ISU’s Katherine Felton scored in the 51st minute to put the Wildcats on edge. Thankfully, Aulicino’s free kick magic came to use once again with a beautiful cross from just outside the box straight to the head of Rowan Lapi to tie it up. To seal the deal, it was a solo drive up the field by Aulicino who knocked the ball out wide to her fellow sophomore Meg Boade, who then sent in a perfectly weighted chip-cross right back to the head of Aulicino for the golden goal.

One thing to note from this matchup, however, is the ‘Cats outshot ISU 19-7 with eight of their 19 shots being on goal. While Northwestern came away with the win, more difficult conference matchups may not yield the same result if the Wildcats can’t hit the back of the net more frequently with the high number of shot attempts they’ve been putting up.

After their thrilling victory over the Redbirds, the Wildcats met with their north shore rivals, DePaul, at home to earn their third straight win. It was once again Aulicino who dazzled, displaying great technical footwork and weaving around three defenders in the box before taking it on her left foot for a well-deserved goal.

Unfortunately, after their victory over the Blue Demons the good karma ran out for the ‘Cats right as they landed in Iowa City for their first Big Ten meeting of the season. After another scoreless first half, it was sophomore Ingrid Falls who opened up the scoring with a beautiful chip shot off of a long ball out of midfield from Lapi. However, despite a crunch-time penalty kick save from goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood, the Hawkeyes would pull ahead with goals in both the 64th and 65th minutes, dropping Northwestern to 0-1 in conference play.

Aulicino continues to lead the team in both scoring and assists with four goals and six assists, while Falls and Aurea Martin trailing close behind with two goals apiece. NU is set to continue their conference road trip, visiting tough opponents in both Penn State and Maryland in the next four days.

The Wildcats’ next matchup takes place tonight at 6 p.m. CT against the No. 4 ranked Nittany Lions. The game will be televised on BTN+.