Sept. 4, 2006
EVANSTON, Ill.-- For the second time this season, Northwestern (3-1) fought back from a 1-0 deficit to earn a 2-1 victory, this time over tournament host UC Irvine (2-1) in the final day of the UC Irvine College Classic in Irvine, Calif. Second half goals by Daniel Chille and freshman Eamon O'Neill powered the Wildcats to the win. O'Neill also picked up an assist on Chille's goal for the first points of his career.
Justin Pines (1-0) picked up the win in goal for Northwestern, holding the Anteaters scoreless in the final 45 minutes.
The win leaves the Wildcats feeling good about the weekend, despite the loss to 18th-ranked Santa Clara on Saturday night in which they couldn't seem muster much of anything offensively.
"I thought we did a great job today," head coach Tim Lenahan said. "We weren't really firing on all cylinders. UC Irvine is a very good team, but we dug in a little bit and really turned up our work ethic in the second half. It was a good way to bounce back from Saturday night's loss. We played with a lot of heart. Dan Chille made a great play on his goal and it was great to see Eamon O'Neill get the first of what will probably be many game winners before his career is over."
Just looking at the box score, you can see that the Anteaters were the aggressor throughout the game. But a combined seven saves by starter Will Briley (three in the first half) and Pines kept the Wildcats within striking distance. Northwestern managed just three shots in the first half to Irvine's seven and were outshot 18-6 for the game.
But as Lenahan pointed out after the game, it's all about finding a way to win-especially on the road.
"Even though we endured a lot of pressure, we found a way to make a couple plays and that's what winning on the road is all about," added Lenahan. "It's not necessarily always about playing the best soccer. It's about getting results. UC Irvine is going to be a very successful team this year, so getting a win on the road against that team makes it a good weekend for us."
Irvine's Brad Evans, a preseason all-American and the 2005 Big West Offensive Player of the Year, put the Anteaters on the board early when his goal in the ninth minute gave them the 1-0 advantage, which they held into halftime. Shane Westbrook and Anthony Hamilton assisted on the play.
Lenahan then made a switch in goal at the break, inserting the senior Pines for Briley. The moved paid dividends as Pines, who was showered with 11 second half shots, made four saves, allowed zero goals and picked up his first win since the 2004 season.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Northwestern finally got on the board as David Roth and O'Neill combined to assist on Chille's goal in the 61st minute to tie the game and shift the momentum to NU's side. O'Neill then put the game away with his first career goal in the 83rd minute to seal the victory for the Wildcats.
Kenny Schoeni (2-1) suffered the loss in goal for the Anteaters.
The Santa Clara Broncos won the UCI College Classic with a pair of
victories, Northwestern finished second with UCI in third and Niagara in
fourth. Jeff Cosgriff of Santa Clara was named the tournament MVP. The
all-tournament team consisted of Amaechi Igwe, Peter Lowry, Erik Ustruck and Stephen McCarthy of Santa Clara, Eamon O'Neill, Daniel Chille and Will Nicholas of Northwestern, Brad Evans and Matt Murphy of UC Irvine and Billy Gustafson and Stephen Kauble of Niagara.
Northwestern is back in action next weekend when they stay a little closer to home for the Northern Illinois University Tournament in DeKalb, Ill. NU will face Bradley at 2:15 p.m. Friday before taking on Bradley at 11 a.m. Sunday.