Aug. 29, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Sophomore Piero Bellizzi's goal in the 75th minute was the lone tally of the match as No. 20 Northwestern opened its 2008 season with a 1-0 win over San Francisco Friday evening at Lakeside Field as part of the sixth annual Lakeside Classic.
The victory was the fifth consecutive season-opening win for the Wildcats and their seventh in a row in the Lakeside Classic.
NU controlled possession throughout the majority of the first half, posting a 6-1 advantage in shots. However, the Dons were able to limit the 'Cats to only one shot on goal as the teams took a scoreless tie into the intermission.
Perhaps the closest shot at a goal for either team in the opening half came when USF attempted a cross and the ball deflected off a NU defender toward the goal, but Misha Rosenthal was able to make a block before the ball went across the goalline.
Northwestern kept the pressure on in the second half, but San Francisco continued to hold the hosts at bay. Finally, just under 30 minutes into the second stanza, the Wildcats cashed in.
Senior defender Drew Ratner fired a long feed down the field where freshman Oliver Kupe was able to fight off a defender and flick the ball to Bellizzi. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year did the rest as he caught USF keeper Jeremy Coupe out of the net and lofted the ball over his head for what proved to be the game-winner.
NU's stout defense made the tally hold up as it limited the Dons to just four shots in the contest. The 'Cats recorded nine shots, including three on goal. Rosenthal made one diving save to earn the shutout, the 11th of his career.
The Wildcats continue play at the Lakeside Classic at 2:30 p.m. Sunday when they take on IUPUI. The Jaguars dropped a 3-0 decision to Northern Illinois in Friday's first match.