October 18, 2012
Northwestern stuns Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Northwestern staged a dramatic comeback Thursday night against the Illini. Trailing for much of the match, Georgia Waddle tallied the equalizer with exactly nine minutes remaining and junior forward Kate Allen converted a penalty kick with just four seconds showing on the clock to give the ’Cats the 2-1 victory at cold and wet Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium.
“I thought tonight’s game was a great example of why you keep playing until the end,” Northwestern head coach Michael Moynihan said. “I thought in the first half we generated some really quality chances and we were threatening, yet we’re kind of in the same position we’ve been in, being down a goal off of a penalty kick. We kept battling and we kept clawing our way back. I thought we had a nice goal in transition with Georgia’s score and then Kate stepped up and nailed the PK with four seconds left. It was a fantastic finish and I think shows a lot about the character of the team. They’re playing for pride, they’re playing for the future of our program and I thought they made a great statement about their character today.”
Illinois had the 1-0 lead for much of the match, after Megan Pawloski was knocked down from behind in the Northwestern box and Vanessa DiBernardo converted a penalty kick in the 17th minute.
The Wildcats battled right down to the final seconds. Waddle tied things up for the ’Cats in the 82nd minute with her fourth goal of the season, shortly after entering the game in the 80th. Junior forward Bo Podkopacz sent the ball over from the left side of the box and Illinois keeper Steph Panozzo came out to attempt to make the save. She was unable to stop the ball and Waddle got past Panozzo and was able to slide one in near the goal line for the score.
The Illini put pressure on the ’Cats after that with six shots in the final minutes, but were unable to convert. With the clock winding down, Northwestern had a final opportunity to end the game in regulation.
Waddle set up the eventual game-winner with a throw-in deep in Illini territory with about 20 seconds left. NU had two shots that were deflected and then Illinois was whistled for a handball in the box with just four seconds remaining in the game. Allen sent a low shot to the bottom right corner of the net to score her team-leading seventh goal of the season and send NU back to Evanston with the 2-1 victory.
Sophomore goalkeeper Anna Cassell battled through the Illini attack all night and made six saves, five in the second half. Panozzo had five saves.
Northwestern heads back to Lakeside Field Sunday to host the final regular-season home match of 2012. The Wildcats will host Iowa at 2:30 p.m.