Disclaimer: Usually, we would have separate updates for each team, but given how early it is in the season, we’ve combined them for now. Once both teams get rolling, we’ll make sure they each get their time to shine.
Soccer season is coming back into full swing for the Northwestern Wildcats. The women’s team kicked off their season with a Tour de Kansas, going 1-1 on the road trip, while the men’s team has been tuning up with a few exhibition matches.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details of all of that though, I’d be remiss to not start out with one of the most stunning goals I have ever seen from Emma Phillips.
You don’t need to scroll yet. Keep watching it as many times as you’d like.
Ok, moving on.
Thursday, August 18th
Last Thursday saw a battle for naming rights with Northwestern taking on Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas. The Evanston-based Wildcats came out victorious thanks to two second half goals. After giving up a goal to Sophie Harlan in the sixth minute, Northwestern woke up and proceeded to dominate. They out-shot Kansas State 18 to 8, with 11 shots on goal compared to two for K-State. First-year midfielder Caterina Regazzoni finally broke the seal with the equalizer in the 65th minute. Five minutes later, sophomore defender Phillips executed that beautiful bicycle kick to take a lead that would not be relinquished. Junior midfielder Josie Aulicino and senior midfielder Rowan Lapi earned assists on the Regazzoni goal, while senior midfielder Lily Gilbertson provided the cross for the SportsCenter Top Ten-worthy Phillips banger.
This game would have been an absolute blowout if not for Kansas State goalkeeper Alaina Werremeyer. She recorded eight saves during her 90 minutes between the sticks, but her efforts were not enough to prevent her squad from being demoted to the lesser Wildcats.
Northwestern was also the more disciplined team, drawing five fouls as opposed to Kansas State’s nine. Both teams had players receive yellow cards, however, with senior defender Danika Austin earning the dishonor for Northwestern.
This win continued to bolster Northwestern’s claim to the throne as top purple Wildcat in college athletics. Throughout all sports in which both universities compete, Northwestern holds the crown with a 19-11 record all-time against Kansas State (full breakdown of all-time records by sport can be found here).
Sunday, August 21
The Wildcats stayed in Kansas for the weekend and travelled east a mere 85 miles to take on Kansas University. This result was less favorable for the ‘Cats, losing 1-0 at the hands (wings?) of the Jayhawks.
Northwestern once again out-shot their opponent (15-10), but had only three shots on target compared to 11 shots on goal against Kansas State.
The defense was able to hold fast for longer this time, until Mackenzie Boeve scored in the 56th minute for Kansas. Northwestern continued to take shots for the remaining 34 minutes, with Gilbertson nearly scoring in the 74th minute, but they could never find the much-needed equalizer.
Discipline seemed to be a larger issue for the ‘Cats this go-round, as they out-fouled Kansas 16-9. Despite that ratio, Kansas received five yellow cards while Northwestern received none.
Improving finishing in front of the goal and limiting fouls could turn Northwestern into a team to watch nationally as the season progresses.
The Wildcats return to Evanston this upcoming Thursday to take on the Cougars of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in another big cat-themed matchup. This battle of two 1-1 teams can be streamed at 4:30 p.m. CST on B1G+.
Northwestern rounds out the week in Michigan to take on Oakland on Sunday. The Golden Grizzlies are undefeated so far, so Northwestern looks to spoil their golden season Sunday at 1 p.m. CST on ESPN+.
Things are less exciting in the world of Northwestern men’s soccer, which is still waiting to kick off its season this upcoming Thursday at Martin Stadium against Chicago State. The team hopes to build on the momentum that it had to end last season with its upset of Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament.
The ‘Cats have played three exhibition matches so far against Green Bay, Notre Dame, and Purdue Fort Wayne. These matches hopefully helped integrate the incoming class of players into the rest of the team. This recruiting class was ranked fifth in the country by Top Drawer Soccer, so expect its contributions to come early and often.
Regular season action begins at this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. CST against the Chicago State Cougars (what’s with all the felines this week?) on B1G+. The ‘Cats then travel to Fort Myers, Florida to show the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast that the beaches are better on the coast of Lake Michigan. That game kicks off at 6 p.m. on Sunday, with streaming details still to come.
That’s all for this week, but who knows what next week will bring? Maybe we’ll see Emma Phillips one-up herself and pull off a scorpion kick this time.