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    2012 Season Begins Saturday vs. Xavier at Lakeside Field

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Sophomore defender Nikko Boxall and the Wildcats open up the 2012 season Saturday at Lakeside Field.
    Sophomore defender Nikko Boxall and the Wildcats open up the 2012 season Saturday at Lakeside Field.

    Aug. 23, 2012

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    2012 Men’s Soccer Promotions

    No. 20 Northwestern (0-0-0) vs. Xavier (RV) (0-0-0)
    Saturday, Aug. 25 • 7 p.m. (CT)
    Evanston, Ill. • Lakeside Field
    Live Stats: Gametracker
    Live Video: Wildcats All-Access
    In-Game Tweets: @NU_SportsLIVE

    EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern officially kicks off the 2012 season at 7 p.m. Saturday in front of its home crowd at Lakeside Field. Right off the bat, The Wildcats face tough competition, as the defending Big Ten champions host the 2011 Atlantic 10 champions, Xavier.



    Saturday’s game is the first of nine regular-season home contests for NU at Lakeside Field and fans in attendance will have the first chance to pick up the 2012 Northwestern men’s soccer poster. Tickets are available at the door for $7 for adults, $4 for youth/seniors and $3 for groups of 15 or more.

    Here are a few notes to get you read for Saturday’s opener.

    Exhibition Notes
    Northwestern traveled to New Jersey last week, playing a pair of exhibition matches against teams that are receiving votes in the preseason NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Rankings. The Wildcats dropped their first match against Monmouth, 3-1, but bounced back with a 1-0 shutout of Rutgers. Senior Nick Gendron, who is from Ramsey, N.J., scored the game-winner against Rutgers off an assist from junior defender Scott Lakin (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield). NU’s game against Rutgers was played at head coach Tim Lenahan’s alma mater, Richard Stockton.

    We’re (Picked) No. 1
    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 this week and the Wildcats, along with Indiana, were picked to finish first among the seven conference teams.

    Additionally, the Big Ten announced its Players to Watch List and NU’s sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller (Woodbury, N.J./Bishop Eustace), senior midfielder Chris Ritter (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier) and junior midfielder Lepe Seetane (Maseru, Lesotho/Trinity) made the cut.

    Strong Core Returns
    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 and went 11-5-5 overall. Nine starters, including All-Big Ten honorees Tyler Miller, Chris Ritter, Lepe Seetane and sophomore defender Nikko Boxall (Auckland, New Zealand/Mt. Albert), are back in 2012.

    See You In September
    After Saturday’s match, the Wildcats are on the road for back-to-back weekends, before returning to Evanston for the Lakeside Classic, Sept. 14 and 16. NU hosts Iona and Milwaukee at its own tournament and a week later, begins Big Ten action against Michigan on Sunday, Sept. 23. Northwestern plays one more home match in September facing cross-town rival DePaul on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

    Scouting Xavier
    Xavier played two exhibition matches, falling 1-0 to Notre Dame and tying Marquette, 0-0. The Musketeers are the reigning Atlantic 10 champions after posting a 12-4-5 overall record, 4-3-2 mark in conference action in 2011, and return all 11 starters from last year’s team.

    Junior defender Nick Hagglund has received a number of preseason accolades as he was named to the Missouri Athletic Club’s (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watch List, was a College Soccer News Preseason All-American Third Team selection and was tabbed preseason Atlantic 10 Defender of the Year by College Sports Madness.

    Hey, I Know You…
    There’s a familiar face on the Xavier sidelines as head coach Andy Fleming worked on Tim Lenahan’s staff as an assistant and associate head coach at Northwestern from 2007-09. Fleming is one of 14 members of Lenahan’s coaching staffs over the years to become a head coach.

    Xavier also is a familiar opponent for Northwestern as the team traveled to Evanston in 2011 for the Lakeside Classic. NU shut out the Muskateers, 2-0, off first-half goals by Nikko Boxall and Chris Ritter, helping the Wildcats win the tournament title.

    Northwestern is 3-1-0 all-time against Xavier.


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