Capping off our player previews of the 2023 Wildcats, who are set to begin their season tonight against Marquette at 7 p.m. CT, we preview Northwestern’s star junior. Josie Aulicino has been an offensive engine for the ‘Cats from the moment she arrived in Evanston, and that shouldn’t change in 2023.
Who is she?
Senior; midfielder; from Northville, Michigan; 2022 Third Team All-Big Ten and United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-North Region; has made an All-Big Ten team all three of her years at NU
53 games played, 53 starts; 4,601 minutes; 16 goals; 21 assists; 53 points
Aulicino entered 2022 looking to build off a wildly impressive sophomore season in which she tallied six goals and eight assists. She was successful in that endeavor, affirming her status as one of the best midfielders in the Big Ten. Her nine goals and 10 assists placed her within the top five of the Big Ten in shots on goal (first), points (second), assists (third) and goals (T-5th). She also topped the Wildcats in goals, assists and points (28), and her 10 assists are second most in program history. In her 23 starts, Aulicino terrorized opposing defenses, with her well-rounded abilities keeping her as a constant threat. Northwestern never felt out of a game as long as Aulicino was on the field, which was a total of 1,985 minutes. She had four games with at least one goal and one assist, with her high in points coming against SIUE when she notched two goals and an assist. Her production earned her Third Team All-Big Ten and All-North honors, both of which seem low to anyone who watched Aulicino in person.
In 2023, Aulicino will look to lead the team in goals and assists for the third straight season on their road to redemption. Expectations are high for the Wildcats, and meeting them will rely heavily on Aulicino. She is the most prominent face of the three-headed offensive monster that is herself, Aurea del Carmen and Meg Boade, and the connection between those three will be critical to Northwestern’s success.
It may seem odd to say considering her 18 assists over the past two years, but Aulicino will need to remember that other players on the team can facilitate, score and distribute. Recognizing this will make her life easier, as she is not the only one who has to get it done, and it will also make her more dangerous, as there will be too many threats for the opposing defense to keep track of. Aulicino is a near-perfect attacking midfielder, and her senior year will allow her to keep showing that to the nation. If Aulicino continues to improve year-over-year, Northwestern can end the season with the Big Ten trophy in hand, and No. 8 figures to slot in to a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team.