‘Cats can’t find any late game magic, fall to Indiana 1-0

By Logan Schiciano

In a match dominated by defense, an unfortunate miscue proved to be the difference-maker in a 1-0 Northwestern (7-5-1, 3-2-1 B1G) loss to Indiana (9-2-3, 3-1-2 B1G) on Friday at Martin Stadium. 

Hoosiers’ junior Megan Wampler notched the lone goal of the contest in the forty-second minute. The play unfolded rather unexpectedly after Wampler’s teammate Oliwia Wos sent a long, floating ball toward the ‘Cats’ six-yard box. The Wildcats allowed the ball to fall untouched in a dangerous area, and Wampler capitalized, heading it into the back of the net for her first point of the season. The goal was the capstone to a first half where the Hoosiers dominated possession and outshot the ‘Cats 5-2. 

Northwestern did manage to generate more chances after halftime by initiating its offense down the wings and utilizing fullbacks Ella Hase and Julietta Thron in attacking situations. Though the ‘Cats struggled to direct shot attempts on frame, their best opportunity came in the eighty-sixth minute, when graduate student Regan Steigleder ripped a shot from outside the eighteen-yard box, on which Indiana first-year goalie Jamie Gerstenberg made an outstanding diving save. 

The shutout for Gerstenberg was her eighth of the season, tied for the most in the NCAA this year. She’s now just one away from tying the Indiana record for most clean sheets in a season. 

After scoring in dramatic fashion in back-to-back games, Steigleder was silent for most of the night, with the shot in the final minutes being her only of the game. Sophomore phenom Josie Aulicino, the ‘Cats leader in goals and assists, was also held at bay; she could not muster a shot in 81 minutes. 

The win for the Hoosiers extends their unbeaten streak to five games as they pursue their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013. 

The ‘Cats’ own four-game unbeaten streak snapped Friday, but they still hold a winning record with four conference games remaining. They’ll hit the road for a date with Wisconsin in Madison on Thursday before returning to Evanston to battle Minnesota during Homecoming Weekend.