Wildcats upset top-ten opponent at home

By Nader Ihmoud

Despite the gusting winds, the Northwestern University Wildcats were able to fend off the No. 7 ranked University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2-1 on Oct. 9 at Lakeside Field.

Early on, the Wildcats were aggressive on offense, scoring both goals in the first 20 minutes of the game. Freshman forward Joey Calistri broke out of his slump with a goal and an assist on the game-clinching goal, by junior midfielder Lepe Seetane.

“It’s big to get [Calistri] scoring again,” said Wildcats head coach Tim Lenahan. “Usually [freshman] hit a little bit of a grind 10-11 games in. It showed we could get chances against this team and we did.”

Prior to the matchup against Northwestern, Notre Dame had only given up nine goals in 12 games but the Wildcats were not fazed. Opportunities came in abundance for both teams, but the Wildcats cashed in on two great chances, putting the game out of reach early.

After Calistri put Northwestern on the board first, he found himself in position to make another great play. The freshman took advantage of a misplayed ball on an awkward bounce by a defender and found Seetane at the top of the box, who quickly put the ball past the Fighting Irish’s goalkeeper, Patrick Wall.

“This whole week I was practicing that shot,” Seetane said. “I knew had to come out big if we [wanted] an opportunity to win against the No. 7 team in the country.”

The Wildcats had an entire week to prepare for the Fighting Irish, after falling to the Bradley University Braves 3-1 on Oct. 3.

The up tempo play by the Wildcats set the tone early and allowed them to control the first half of the game, but it didn’t stop the Fighting Irish from getting opportunities in the second half. Notre Dame outshot Northwestern 15-7 during the final 45 minutes, leading to their only score of the game. With five minutes remaining in regulation, Patrick Hodan scored his third goal of the season.

“[Hodan] really did a nasty move down there to score,” Lenahan said. “He actually was their best player. He gave us fits [in the box].”

The goal made the final minutes of regulation interesting, but it was not enough to help the Irish send the game to overtime.

Lenahan described the win as a “signature win” for his team, but his players know they have to move on and focus on a tough game against conference rival the Ohio State University Buckeyes on Oct. 14 at Lakeside Field at 12 pm.

“[It’s] Big Ten time,” Seetane said. “It’s a whole different story. This was fun, but when it comes to [conference play] we know we have to grind out every game.”