By Austin Miller
With the continuing construction on Lakeside Field, Northwestern’s soccer teams have led a bit of a nomadic lifestyle this season. The majority of both side’s home matches will take place at Toyota Park in Bridgeview. While the stadium, which is the home of the MLS’ Chicago Fire, is a fantastic place to watch a football match, it’s more than an hour away from NU’s Evanston campus, certainly not an ideal situation for the programs. With both teams set to enter the heart of Big Ten play, let’s take a look at how both have done thus far.
Women’s Soccer: The ‘Cats finished off the non-conference portion of their season with an impressive 6-1-1 record. Most recently, the Wildcats traveled to Colorado and defeated both Colorado State and Colorado by scores of 2-1 and 1-0, respectively. Northwestern has conceded just three goals in eight matches, making for an impressive .38 goals allowed per game.
Much of the team’s success can be attributed to sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Clem, who has started every match this season, and has kept 5 clean sheets. Junior forward Addie Steiner has been the Wildcats’ best offensive player so far, scoring two goals to go with two assists. Despite not playing in the first four matches, sophomore Michelle Manning has also scored twice, including the match winner against Colorado. Northwestern will open Big Ten play this weekend with road matches against Purdue and Indiana.
Men’s Soccer: The men struggled to open the season, going winless in their first 3 matches. However, they were able to salvage a point in a 1-1 draw with Colgate to open the campaign, but then were defeated by both Seattle University and Gonzaga during a West Coast road trip. The team was able to rebound, though, and knocked off Ohio State 2-1 to open Big Ten play this past weekend, and followed that up with a 1-0 win over UCF, improving its overall record to 2-2-1.
Senior goalkeeper Zak Allen, who is replacing the departed star Tyler Miller, has made 24 saves so far this season. Joey Calistri scored a pair of goals against Ohio State in a performance that earned him Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors. Up next, NU has a crucial Big Ten clash with Michigan, who opened conference play with an impressive 0-0 draw with No. 4 Maryland.