Thursday, August 25, 2016

Northwestern proves its grit in a come from behind win at DePaul

                        Photo Credit: Northwestern Athletics

In an eight-minute stretch in the second half, the No. 25 Northwestern Wildcats (3-0-0) showed why they are worthy of being ranked against crosstown rivals the DePaul Blue Demons (0-1-1) at Wish Field.

Northwestern’s goals from Brenna Lovera (78th minute) and Kassidy Gorman (86th minute) proved to be the difference in a 2-1 win over DePaul on Thursday.

The winds of change began in the early stages of the second half as Northwestern attacked DePaul’s zone, but DePaul stood tall to the task as the advantage remained 1-0 off of Kelli Hubly's first goal of the season.

“Scoring in the first five minutes was big because it gets a team on its toes early and the high energy early helped us throughout the first half,” Hubly said.
Northwestern coach Michael Moynihan knew adjustments had to be made at intermission.

“We were really frustrated at the half and there is a lot of things that we have been working on, but have played stretches thus far this season,” Moynihan said. “I don’t yet know what the reasons for the inconsistencies are, but a lot of our players have a ton of fight in them and we have to calm them down at times when they get to jazzed up.

The payoff for the Wildcats came as Maria Fayeulle delivered a splendid leg pass to Lovera as she came untouched from the left side and scored to even the score at 1-1 in the game’s 78th minute.

Eight minutes later, Fayuelle made another clutch kick to an in-sync Kassidy Gorman to go ahead 2-1 and would not look back.

“In the second half, we made a few changes and it benefited us as we took over the game with great energy,” Moynihan said. “Both of the goals were nice build-ups and some really pretty soccer.”

“The first goal started with Kassidy Gorman, who played a really nice ball to Maria and she had her back to the goal, then Brenda was overlapping, so she did a heel pass on the defender and got it to Brenda for the goal and it was a well put together play overall.”

Northwestern goalkeeper Lauren Clem came into the game with 24 career shutouts, which was one short of the school record, but Hubly ended any opportunity of history being made as she opened the scoring in the fourth minute off an assist from Avery Hay for the half’s only goal.

Prior to the game, DePaul changed its alignment to a 4-3-3 scheme with midfielder Alexa Ben out and defender Adrian Walker taking her spot in the lineup.

The move paid dividends in the midway point of the first half as Walker made the save off a kick from Northwestern's Mary Erikson from the left hash.

Northwestern’s biggest scoring chance of the first half came in the 43rd minute produced three scoring chances off a corner kick, but the last shot from Rachel Zampa came the closest as DePaul goalkeeper Lauren Fresca stopped the threat.

The Blue Demons went into locker room with a 1-0 advantage, but committed seven fouls compared to the Wildcats’ 3.

Northwestern attacked DePaul’s zone out the gate in the second half, but DePaul stood tall to the task as the advantage remained at 1-0.

The goals from Lovera (third of the season) and Gorman (first) proved to be the difference for Northwestern and DePaul coach Erin Chastain felt like her team blew some golden opportunities towards the latter stages of the first half.

“We were playing with a lead and Northwestern started to throw numbers forward for the tying goal and I don’t think we handled that scenario in the best way,” Chastain said. “We still had some chances that we missed throughout the game that could have seen us go up 2-0. We didn’t capitalize and Northwestern did by scoring goal two goals in the second half and it is about us playing 90 minutes with a lead.”

Game Note:

With Thursday's win, Northwestern moves to 7-1-0 in the all-time series against DePaul. DePaul's only win came in 2009 (3-2 at Wish Field).

Looking Ahead:

Both teams are on the road on Aug. 28 as Northwestern looks to stay undefeated against Kentucky for a Noon kick, while DePaul travels to take on William & Mary.

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.