My apologies in advance if I’m a little out of breath for this update. It’s just that Northwestern women’s soccer team has scored 10 goals in its last two games. Do the ‘Cats not stop to think of the toll that sort of production can have on fans? My heart can only tolerate so much excitement! And head coach Michael Moynihan earned his 300th career win? I’m starting to get woozy! Let’s get on with this recap while I’m still able to write it.
Aug. 24 vs. Oakland
After going scoreless against Kansas State, Northwestern knew it had goals in the tank. Unfortunately for the Golden Grizzlies, the ‘Cats unleashed against them. The Thursday night matchup was an onslaught by the Northwestern offense, and a Josie Aulicino hat-trick paved the way to a 7-0 victory.
The powers-that-be pushed the game’s start time from 7:30 to 8:00 p.m., citing excessive heat, but I think it was so that the snazzy new Gothic kits could get their proper nighttime shine.
I mean, look at those. They scream “look good, play good,” and these jerseys certainly cover the ‘look good’ component. In their 90 minutes on the field, the players took care of the other half of the adage.
Emma “Master of the Skies” Phillips opened the scoring, swooping in toward the back post to head home a Meg Boade cross.
This clinical link up put the Wildcats up 1-0, which held until the break. That means that there were six goals scored in the second half. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for Moynihan’s half time speech...
It was no holds barred once the ‘Cats retook the field. In the 53rd minute, Ella Hase scored. In the 55th minute, Aulicino scored. In the 63rd minute, Aurea del Carmen scored. In the 66th minute, Aulicino scored again. In the 69th minute, Aulicino scored again (again). In the 72nd minute — last, but not least — Bridget Mitchell scored.
All in all, the ‘Cats scored seven goals on 21 shots (12 on goal). Eight different players contributed to the scoring, with nine assists handed out on the seven goals. One of those assists came from first-year Megan Norkett, the first of her career. Aulicino (3), Boade (2) and Falls (2) all had multi-dish games, and del Carmen joined Aulicino as the only players with at least one goal and one assist.
Aulicino (I hope y’all aren’t tired of hearing her name yet; it’ll be a long season if you are) also completed the elusive double hat trick, totaling 9 points in the contest. Her hat trick was just the seventh in program history.
Defensively, the game was a little more boring. Oakland managed only one shot the entire game, and it wasn’t even on target. It’s no wonder that Phillips got in on the scoring; It’s not like she had much else to do. This shutout was Northwestern’s third of the season.
The final note from this dominant win comes from the touchline. With this victory, Moynihan reached 300 career wins, 107 of those coming at NU. It’s fitting that it was also the largest victory in his Northwestern career.
Scoring seven goals would make any team a little weary, but there was no time to rest. It was on to Toledo for the ‘Cats.
Aug. 27 at Toledo
Northwestern may need to increase funding to its aerospace program because this matchup was the first time a Wildcat ever faced a Rocket. The ‘Cats took care of their astro-foes with ease, taking Toledo down, 3-1.
The first goal of the match came from someone who, somewhat surprisingly, had not found the scoresheet through a handful of games. Caterina Regazzoni secured her first goal of the season by converting on a ball from Aulicino, marking what could be the first of many for the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Three minutes later, in the 44th minute, another new name was marked down in the scorebook. Jaelyn Eisenhart, the transfer from USC, sent home Boade’s service, tilting it to 2-0 in favor of the Wildcats heading into the half.
After the break, Ingrid Falls decided to add one for good measure. She took a hint from her opponents and rocketed one from just outside the box into the back of the net. Aulicino was credited for an assist, but watching the clip will show that Falls did the heavy lifting.
Close out your Monday with this unstoppable strike from Ingrid Falls pic.twitter.com/nkTTAWDKq5— Northwestern Soccer (@NUWSoccer) August 28, 2023
In garbage time (or, as the professionals like to call it, the 85th minute), Toledo’s Madison Medalle had to draw a penalty and play spoiler to Northwestern’s 354-minute shutout streak.
That Toledo goal was too little, too late, and when the final whistle blew, the ‘Cats secured their third win of the season
While the Wildcats remain undefeated, there are some parties that would like to see a little bit more. After ranking Northwestern No. 18 in the preseason poll, the United Soccer Coaches decided to drop the ‘Cats from the rankings following Week One. This 10-goal second week might change their minds.
Regardless of what the polls say, Northwestern still has business to conduct on the pitch. Next up on the ledger: Boston University.
The Evanston forecast isn’t showing any rain, but there will still be ‘Cats and dogs all over the field on Thursday as the Terriers come to town to take on the Wildcats. The matchup is set for 7 p.m. CT on Aug. 31.
After BU, the ‘Cats will be back on the road, this time making their way down to a familiar foe — one affectionately known as the “Northwestern of the South.” There could be some bad blood in this matchup between the Wildcats and the Vanderbilt Commodores. Northwestern did knock them out of the NCAA Tournament last season, after all. The Labor Day weekend dustup is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT on Sep. 3.