Oct. 6, 2007
Watch broadcast highlights from the Big Ten Network.
EVANSTON, Ill. -
If there were any questions about how the Northwestern men's soccer team would respond after suffering its first loss of the season a week ago, the Wildcats put those doubts to rest early Saturday afternoon. Mark Blades' early goal sparked seventh-ranked NU to a resounding 3-0 win over Wisconsin at Lakeside Field.
The Wildcats improved to 8-1-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten with the win, while the Badgers' record dipped to 5-4-2 and 0-2-1.
With an injured Carl Pett out of the lineup, Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan moved both Blades and Geoff Fallon around in the Wildcat attack and the duo responded with a first-half goal apiece.
Blades' tally came just 3 minutes and 27 seconds into the contest as he played a beautiful cross from Matt Eliason and sent a volley past Badger keeper Alex Horwath from 10 yards out to give NU the early lead.
Fallon increased the Wildcat advantage to 2-0 at the 24:38 mark as NU's play into the box was headed out by a Wisconsin defender. However, the ball went to Fallon just outside of the top of the 18-yard box and he ripped a blast into the net for the score.
Northwestern would carry the two-goal lead into the intermission after posting an 8-2 advantage in shots.
The Wildcats put the game away just over nine minutes into the second half as David Roth forced Wisconsin into a foul just beyond the top of the box. Roth took the ensuing direct free kick and buried a shot past Horwath into the left side of the net.
"All three of our left-footed players did a good job today," Lenahan said. "Mark Blades did a good job moving up to a position where he was the Player of the Year in the state of Ohio. Geoff Fallon also was very good at the middle-back spot. David Roth then put it away with a great goal in the second half."
NU eased off on the offensive pressure the rest of the way with the three-goal lead as the Badgers out-shot the Wildcats 9-2 in the second half to finish with an 11-10 edge for the match.
Misha Rosenthal recorded four saves to earn his seventh shutout of the season, tying J.D. Martin's single-season record set in 2002.
"Wisconsin is a good team and this will prove to be a good win for us at the end of the season," Lenahan said.
Northwestern returns to action at 4 p.m. Wednesday as it hosts local rival DePaul at Lakeside Field.