After Northwestern squeaked out an overtime victory against VCU on Friday, the Wildcats are set to finish their first weekend of the season with a showdown with James Madison, an NCAA Tournament qualifier from last season. The game will kick off at 1 p.m.
Matchup to Watch: Dukes forward Ashley Herndon vs. NU’s defense
James Madison’s greatest offensive threat is its dynamic attacker Ashley Herndon, who netted 14 goals last season to lead the Dukes. She has the pedigree to make any team nervous, as the senior was named the CAA’s preseason player of the year and was invited to a U.S. Women’s National Team U-23 camp in May. Defenses can’t just play her purely as a threat to score, either — she notched six assists last season and was credited with an assist on James Madison’s opening goal of its first game this year, a 4-3 double overtime defeat to Arkansas.
Meanwhile, the Cats’ defense picked up where they left off last season in their opener, holding the Rams to just one shot on goal in a shutout victory. The back line has proven to have the talent and cohesion to stop star players in the past. NU needed extra time to break through with a goal against VCU, underscoring the importance of keeping a player like Herndon from putting the Cats behind early.