Men’s soccer falls to No. 11 Indiana

By Andrew Neville

Northwestern (2-4-2, 0-2-0 B1G) gave the No. 11 ranked Indiana Hoosiers (4-2-1, 1-1-0) all it had Tuesday night but ultimately fell 2-1 before a raucous crowd at Martin Stadium.

Playing before a full student section for the first time since the 2019 season, the ‘Cats got off to a flying start. In the sixth minute, sophomore forward and offensive catalyst Justin Weiss capitalized on a rare mistake by the Indiana backline. Weiss picked the ball off the feet of Indiana’s Joey Maher and found a streaking Vicente Castro. Castro wonderfully darted around Hoosier netminder Roman Celentano and slotted the ball into an empty net to give the Wildcats the early advantage. The goal was Castro’s first of the season.

Following the goal, Indiana’s backline dug in and prevented Northwestern from getting much of anything going throughout the rest of the first half; meanwhile, the Hoosier forwards slowly began to wrench momentum away from the home team’s sideline. Indiana forward Ryan Wittenbrink narrowly missed a header wide right, setting up a corner kick which was almost converted by defender Joey Maher. These were Indiana’s best chances of the half, however, Northwestern settled down and headed to the break with a 1-0 lead

Indiana capitalized on the momentum its forwards generated at the end of the first half at the beginning of the second half. Just a minute and 19 seconds after kickoff, Indiana center back Daniel Munie delivered an artfully lofted through-ball that glanced off the head of Wildcat defender Deng Deng Ker and landed right at the feet of newly substituted forward Samuel Sarver. Sarver lifted a chip shot from five yards outside the box right over the head of Wildcat goalie Miha Miskovic to equalize for the Hoosiers.

Things only went downhill from there for Northwestern. Just five minutes after Sarver’s equalizer, Indiana midfielder Victor Bezerra spotted a streaking Ryan Wittenbrink wide open down the left side, leading to a three-on-one for the Hoosiers. Wittenbrink slid a perfect cross to a wide-open Herbert Endely who slotted the ball past Miskovic to give the Hoosiers the lead for good. They almost made it 3-1 in the 65th minute but Miskovic was able to get to a laser beam from NU right-back Brett Bebej.

Northwestern tried to mount a rally but Indiana focused on sitting back with the lead, holding the ‘Cats to just one shot over the final 30 minutes of play. Still, first-year coach Russell Payne should be pleased his guys were able to put together a valiant effort against one of the top teams in the country.

Northwestern next faces Michigan (3-4-1, 0-1-0 B1G) in Ann Arbor on Sunday.