Northwestern falls to Iowa on Senior Night

By Adam Bakr

After a 13-game unbeaten run through the heart of the season, the Northwestern women’s soccer team dropped its second game in a row, falling to Iowa 2-1 at Martin Stadium Thursday on Senior Night. 

“A lot of people are hurting right now,” head coach Michael Moynihan said. “It’s always emotional when you want to send the seniors off on a good note.”

Before losing to Michigan State, the Wildcats had scored in the first half of 11 consecutive games, but on Thursday, Iowa struck first. The Hawkeyes took the lead on an own goal by Danika Austin. After a freekick was sent into the box, Austin inadvertently headed the ball backwards over the reach of goalie Mia Raben to open the scoring. It was the third own goal scored by a Hawkeye opponent in the team’s last three games. 

The opening goal may have been fortunate, but the second was brilliant. It looked like Elle Otto had doubled Iowa’s lead, but her curling shot hit the inside of the post and bounced across the line. Before Northwestern could settle the play back down, Addie Bundie found the top corner from outside  the box to score in emphatic fashion. 

The first half would end at 2-0, with Northwestern only having two shots to Iowa’s eight. It was the second game in a row trailing by two at the half. 

“We haven’t really had that all season,” Moynihan said. “Tonight we missed [Caterina Regazzoni], she’s been a big piece of our team in the midfield. Her not playing affects the rhythm of things. It took us a little while, we had to adjust our shape.”

It was Regazzoni’s first missed game of the season as she was out injured. To cover for her, Josie Aulicino played defensive mid with Lapi, Lily Gilbertson shifted to attacking mid in her place and Brooke Miller was introduced into the lineup to start on the right. 

The Wildcats came out much stronger in the second half, and quickly cut the deficit to one. Three minutes in, Nicole Ducette’s cross found an open Ella Hase who made no mistake with the finish in the six-yard-box. 

“We switched into a 4-2-3-1,” Moynihan said. “We were struggling building out of the back and our distribution was causing us some problems, so we thought if we went to four it would give us more natural width, more time and a better shape to work out. I thought it worked well.”

The goal was a start of a Northwestern downpour of chances in the half. 11 shots, six on target but with the exception of Hase’s goal, Iowa goalkeeper Macy Enneking shut down the Wildcats’ efforts. Enneking finished the game with nine saves – her most in a game all season and her highest total since the spring of 2021. 

“I’m proud of the comeback in the second half,” Moynihan said. “Credit to the keeper from Iowa, making a couple of great saves. We had a couple other really good looks we just got to keep them on target.”

Northwestern, now 12-3-2, is back in action on Sunday, Oct. 23 in Columbus to take on Ohio State in the regular season finale. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.