Nov. 13, 2011
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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Soccer Field)
Score: Northwestern 2, Penn State 1
Records: No. 1 seed Northwestern (11-4-5), No. 7 Penn State (9-9-4)
Next Event: NCAA Tournament Selection Show - Monday, Nov. 14, 3:30 p.m. CT - Watch Live on NCAA.com
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Northwestern scored two second half goals to complete the Big Ten sweep Sunday, defeating Penn State 2-1 in the finals to win the 2011 Big Ten Tournament. After winning the Big Ten regular season title last weekend on the same field in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Wildcats are also tournament champions for the first time in school history.
"It's another great win for our program, just like last week," Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan said. "To win a double, doesn't happen that often in this conference and for us to do it in undefeated fashion is amazing. Like I mentioned after we won the regular season title, this is a win for not just this team, but for this program and all the guys that contributed over the years. Pat Eggen, Mark Blades, Drew Ratner; I'm just happy for everybody. I wish I could mention everybody. All of those guys know that this is a championship for all of them and I look forward to the NCAA Tournament. This is a really special day for us. Last week was very special but this may top that."
Freshman Tyler Miller (Woodbury, N.J./Bishop Eustace) and senior Oliver Kupe (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston), who scored the game-winning goal for Northwestern, were both named to the all-tournament team. Miller was also this year's defensive player of the tournament.
|Big Ten Championship Game Highlights|
Penn State was fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament as the Nittany Lions were the first No. 7 seed to ever make the Big Ten Tournament final.
"Penn State had a great run this weekend," Lenahan said. "The first two games, they were phenomenal and the first half today they were phenomenal. Fortunately for us, they were playing their third game in five days and Coach Warming did a great job. Also, my thoughts go out to all those players. They've been here for the last four or five days so our thoughts are with them as they head back to campus and the healing process will take place back there."
The first 20 minutes of the match had little action and the first shot of the game didn't come until the 22:53 mark. Peter O'Neill (Fairway, Kan./Rockhurst) took a free kick just outside the 18-yard box in PSU territory that was immediately saved by goalie Andrew Wolverton.
Action picked up after that as Penn State fired off its first shot at 24:35 and Minh Vu put the Nittany Lions on the board first at 28:40. Vu shot from 18 yards out on the right side and sent the ball past Miller into the lower right.
Northwestern had just one more shot the rest of the half as Kyle Schickel (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier) used some quick moves to beat a PSU defender but his shot from the left hit the side of the net.
PSU, who played with their backs to the wind in the first half, finished with the 6-2 advantage on shots in the half.
The Wildcats appeared to have a goal in the early minutes of the second half as O'Neill sent a ball in from the left side to Reed Losee (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) who headed it towards the goal and Kupe finished it off, but Northwestern was whistled for offside.
Northwestern continued to increase its chances in the second and had three-straight corner kicks in the 61st minute. The Wildcats were unable to capitalize, but shortly after, Penn State was whistled for fouling Kupe inside the box, which set up a penalty kick for Northwestern. O'Neill took the penalty kick and sent one past Wolverton into the top right to even the score.
The 'Cats then extended their lead with their game-winning goal at the 73:23 mark. Nick Gendron (Ramsey, N.J./Ramsey) stole the ball at midfield and served a through ball to Kupe, who had a lone defender on him. Kupe beat the PSU player and put the ball into the top right from inside the 18.
Penn State finished with the 10-8 advantage on shots. Miller and Wolverton both had two saves in goal. Northwestern had the slight 4-3 advantage on corner kicks.
With the win, Northwestern stretches its unbeaten streak to 11 matches as the team enters NCAA Tournament action. The 11-match streak is the second longest in school history and Sunday's game was also the fourth comeback for the 'Cats in their unbeaten streak.
Northwestern finds out its NCAA Tournament fate Monday at 3:30 p.m. with the selection show. This year's selection show for the Division I Men's Soccer Championship will be online at www.ncaa.com.
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