Aug. 21, 2012
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2012 Big Ten Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
EVANSTON, Ill. – After winning the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles in 2011, the conference coaches predicted Northwestern to achieve a similar feat in 2012. The Big Ten announced its 2012 Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll today and the Wildcats, along with Indiana, were picked to finish first among the seven conference teams.
Under the direction of 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year Tim Lenahan, NU returns a strong core from last year’s championship squad that posted an unbeaten 4-0-2 record in conference action. Nine starters, including All-Big Ten honorees sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller (Woodbury, N.J./Bishop Eustace), senior midfielder Chris Ritter (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier), junior midfielder Lepe Seetane (Maseru, Lesotho/Trinity) and sophomore defender Nikko Boxall (Auckland, New Zealand/Mt. Albert), are back in 2012.
Additionally, the Big Ten announced its Players to Watch List and NU’s Miller, Ritter and Seetane made the cut.
As a freshman in 2011, Miller was tabbed First-Team All-Big Ten after anchoring the Northwestern defense that shut out 10 opponents and allowed 0.90 goals per game. Miller recorded nine of those shutouts, which ranks second on NU’s single-season list, and his 0.86 goals against average is third on the single-season list.
A Second-Team All-Big Ten selection in 2011, Ritter started all 20 games for Northwestern in the midfield, scoring a career-best four goals. His most important goal of the season was the game-winner against Michigan in the 84th minute, which clinched the Big Ten regular season title for the Wildcats.
Seetane, also a Second-Team All-Big Ten selection last season, was second on the team in scoring with five goals. A 2010 Big Ten All-Freshman Team honoree, Seetane has played in 39 matches the last two seasons, scoring 18 career points, including 13 in 2011 (five goals, three assists).
The first chance to see the defending Big Ten champions in action is this Saturday when Northwestern hosts Xavier at Lakeside Field. The 2012 season opener kicks off at 7 p.m. and fans can pick up their FREE 2012 Northwestern soccer poster at the match.
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