Nick’s Knacks: rewriting the story
By Nick Guiang
On a cold and rainy Wisconsin night, senior leader Regan Steigleder led the Northwestern women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers. With this being their first win since March 25, the ‘Cats will advance to play Wisconsin in the Big Ten regional final in the hopes of reaching this year’s Big Ten Tournament semifinal.
After a quite disappointing end to an initially hopeful season, the ‘Cats stormed back to keep their season alive. Oftentimes I have seen this team dwindle in pace and strength as games have aged and then allow opponents back into the game with less than ten minutes to go. However, tonight was no such night as Hallie Pearson and Danika Austin walled up in the backfield and completed their sixth shut-out victory of the season.
But it was the presence of Regan Steigleder that impressed me the most. She has been a complete player for this squad this season. While she hasn’t always dominated and shown out as I believe she should–and can–do, she has suddenly, in the fading moments of her time at Northwestern and this crazy COVID-19 season, turned on her jets to keep the ‘Cats’ season alive. In the past two games, Steigleder has scored. And not only has she scored, but she has done so in a calm and collected way, striking with confidence: Scoring a screamer in the 2-1 loss to Illinois, and tonight, slotting away the nerve-racking penalty. She’s currently as dangerous as any player in the Big Ten and will remain so if she continues to play with such tenacity and confidence.
Steigleder has proved to be the foundation and engine of this Northwestern offense. Her relentless defense and string-pulling offensive vision have kept the ‘Cats alive for a couple of days. Her ability to pick out passes through defensive lines or cross-field has often allowed space for her prolific attacking partners, Josie Aulicino and Aurea Martin. Now, because of Steigleder’s electric and outstanding play, the ‘Cats will play on Sunday in Madison. If Steigleder can continue to fire on all cylinders, the team could have a real chance to play in this year’s semifinal. And, after a disappointing loss at home to the Badgers in early March, the ‘Cats have a chance to rewrite storylines.