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    Free Kick Goal by Ritter Lifts No. 14 NU past Northern Illinois

    Oct. 9, 2013

    Box Score

    Northern Illinois No. 14 Northwestern 1, Northern Illinois 0
    Lakeside Field • Evanston, Ill. • Attendance: 472

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    EVANSTON, Ill.-All it took was a free kick by senior Scott Lakin from just inside midfield near the No. 14 Wildcats team bench in the game's 57th minute. 

    On the other end of Lakin's kick, senior Chris Ritter found the ball in midair and headed it past Northern Illinois freshman goalkeeper Mike Pavliga, who was making his first NCAA start. 

    The goal was all Northwestern needed as the `Cats defeated Northern Illinois 1-0 Wednesday night at Lakeside Field.

    "It's not a high percentage shot. I just tried to put myself in the right position and got lucky," Ritter said. "From that distance, you just have to put the ball in the box and see what happens. Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it does not."

    It was Ritter's fourth goal this season, and third game winner, which is tied for the team lead with sophomore Joey Calistri.

    With the win, Northwestern improved to 8-3-0 on the season, dropping NIU to 3-8-0.

    "We gave up three goals each of the last two games so it was important that we gave a good defensive effort," head coach Tim Lenahan said. "We made sure we tightened it up today. We got our goal and kind of grinded it out a little bit. Soccer is such a tight sport. There are absolutely no easy games.

    "Every year we play this team they either score one goal on a set piece or we score a goal on a set piece. That's how it's been the last seven or eight years, so we were fortunate that we pulled through tonight and closed up shot a little bit, absorbed some of their pressure and got back on the winning track. 

    It marked the `Cats seventh shutout of the season, giving junior goalkeeper Tyler Miller his 26th career shutout, ranking second in school history behind Misha Rosenthal (29 from 2005-09).

    NU pressured the Huskies most of the night, outshooting NIU 17-11 and forcing Pavilga to make six saves. However, NIU had its chances to tie the game, but after playing consecutive overtime games, the `Cats staved off any potential tying goals by the Huskies.

    Northwestern wraps up its four-game home stand hosting SIU-Edwardsville at Lakeside Field on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. 

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