‘Cats Stun Hoosiers, Improve to 2-1
By Eli Berk
Ugo Achara Jr.’s tap-in found the back of the net in the 87th minute to push Northwestern to a 1-0 victory over No. 7 Indiana Saturday.
Indiana (2-1, 2-1 Big Ten) came into this match as the top-ranked team in the Big Ten preseason poll, having not allowed a goal through its first two games. Sophomore goalkeeper Roman Centelano went 267-straight minutes this season without allowing a goal before Achara’s strike, and his five saves kept the Hoosiers in the game.
Northwestern (2-1, 2-1 Big Ten) was outshot 17-8 and only had two corner kicks compared to Indiana’s eight. While the offensive production may have been absent, Northwestern won this game based on the defense’s effort. Sophomore defender Deng Deng Kur prevented the Hoosiers from scoring on several occasions, and goalkeeper Miha Miskovic kept a clean sheet with five saves in his return to the starting lineup.
The game started intensely, with both sidelines very vocal. Early fouls pick up by both teams set the pace of a hard-fought, physical encounter. Both teams tallied a shot by the 16th minute, but the defense still prevailed. The Hoosiers continued to play strong offensively, getting five corner kicks in 15 minutes. The ‘Cats survived a last-minute scramble to keep the game scoreless at halftime.
The Wildcats stormed out the gates when the game resumed. Possessing the ball much more and generating scoring chances, only time would tell when they would convert. That time seemed to have come at the 57-minute mark when a series of three shots bounced off Hoosier keeper Centelano, off the crossbar and then skied out of bounds.
The game continued to showcase the impressive defenses until the final five minutes of the game. A scramble inside the box led to a Joseph Arena shot getting deflected, and Achara’s finish gave Northwestern a needed swing of momentum. Achara has proven to be a thorn in the side of Indiana as he was the last Wildcat to score against the Hoosiers back in 2019.
Indiana could not convert in the minimal remaining time, resulting in a top-ten victory for Northwestern and their first victory over the Hoosiers in a decade.
Indiana looks to rebound from this loss against Penn State on March 7, while Northwestern travels to Columbus the same day to take on Ohio State.