EVANSTON, Ill. -- Kristin Becker put away the winner in the second overtime to give Western Illinois (1-0) a 2-1 win over Northwestern (0-1). The win was the first in program history over a Big Ten opponent.
"Fantastic win and we are of course elated," said head coach Ted Flogaites. "They are a quality team, there is no question of that, but we are a team that plays from the heart and that is our strength. The players have created history in being the first squad in WIU's program to beat a Big Ten team. Incredible. Magic night."
The Leathernecks fell behind in the first half when Suzanne Malherbe put the Wildcats up 1-0 in the 25th minute.
"I thought they played us off the pitch in the first half. We couldn't deny them time and space," Flogaites added.
The lead would hold despite chances from Sarah Wright and Tiara Herron in the second half. But in the 89th minute, Jordan Walgren equalized for Western. Northwestern earned a late free kick but Katie Landgrebe's header went wide.
"The second half was a bit more of a tight affair, and I always felt that if we could nip one goal that our belief would escalate and so would the urgency of our play. We threw caution to the wind as the match edged towards full time and in a 3-3-4 found a way into the back of the net and Walgren scored another timely goal. She comes up big in big moments," Flogaites said.
Neither side was able to produce any dangerous chances in the first overtime but early in the second overtime, Becker's corner found the back of the net, giving Western Illinois the victory.
"I thought we were the better team in overtime and we grinded, never quit, and our work rate and desire was in the ascendancy. I am very happy for Kristen Becker on knocking in the game winner. It was a 'Bend it Like Becker' moment to win the game and we are really pleased and full credit to the squad for competing and never conceding a 2nd goal on the heels of the one we conceded in the first half," Flogaites concluded.
Laura Atkinson made nine saves for Western Illinois.
The Leathernecks are back on the road Tuesday when they take on Iowa State at 8:00 p.m.