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    Northwestern Opens 2008 Season By Hosting Lakeside Classic

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Brian Usinger and the Wildcats have won their last four season-openers.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Brian Usinger and the Wildcats have won their last four season-openers.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Aug. 27, 2008

    Lakeside Classic Game Notes

    EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern, ranked No. 16 by College Soccer News and No. 20 by the NSCAA in their respective preseason polls, opens up the 2008 season this weekend as it hosts the sixth annual Lakeside Classic at Lakeside Field. The action begins at 5 p.m. Friday with Northern Illinois taking on IUPUI, with the Wildcats and San Francisco kicking off at approximately 7:30 p.m.

    The second and final day of the Classic is set for Sunday with NIU and San Francisco getting underway at noon followed by the 'Cats and IUPUI at approximately 2:30 p.m. Gametracker will be available for all four matches, while live streaming video will be offered for Friday night's contest between Northwestern and San Francisco at NUsports.com.

    Scouting San Francisco
    The Dons are coming off a 7-11-1 overall mark in 2007, including a 3-8-1 record in West Coast Conference play. San Francisco has been tabbed to finish fourth in the WCC this season in a preseason conference poll. Junior forward Conor Chinn returns to the Dons lineup after leading the team with 17 points a year ago on six goals and five assists. Eric Connor is back in goal for USF, posting a 1.28 goals-against average while playing 16 of 19 matches last season. Erik Visser is in his eighth season as the head coach of the Dons, compiling a 70-55-9 record. He led the team to three straight NCAA tournament appearances from 2004-06.

    Scouting IUPUI
    The Jaguars posted an 8-11-1 record a year ago. IUPUI went 5-1-0 during the Summit League regular season last year, but fell to Oakland (Mich.) 2-0 in the conference tournament championship match. The team must replace four-time all-conference selection and last year's Summit League Player of the Year Vangel Nacovski. Senior defender Dan Heidari headlines the list of returners after being named to the All-Summit League first team in 2007. Junior forward Eric Weigman is the Jaguars' leading returning scorer after posting five goals and three assists for 13 points last season. Steve Franklin, a former Indiana University assistant and the winningest coach in school history (106-126-14), returns for his 14th season at the helm at IUPUI.

    Series Information
    Northwestern and San Francisco will be squaring off for the first time ever when they meet Friday on the opening day of the Lakeside Classic. The Wildcats have just two all-time meetings against members of the West Coast Conference. NU defeated Loyola Marymount 2-0 Oct. 21, 2005 and fell to Santa Clara 2-0 Sept. 2, 2006. The 'Cats will also host Loyola Marymount later this season on Sept. 19. Northwestern has met IUPUI just once before, topping the Jaguars 2-1 Sept. 18, 2005 in DeKalb, Ill.

    Lakeside Classic History
    The Wildcats have a 7-1-2 record in the previous five Lakeside Classics, including winning their last six contests. The lone blemish was a 1-0 loss to Butler in the 2004 tournament, but Northwesten still claimed the title that season based on goal differential. Last year, NU won its opening match of the Classic 3-0 over Colgate in a match played at Loyola University Chicago. The Wildcats returned home two days later to play the final match on their former field, as Matt Eliason scored the game-winning goal just 19 seconds into overtime as Northwestern defeated Bucknell 2-1.

    Northwestern Caps Undefeated Exhibition Season
    NU posted a perfect 3-0 record in their exhibition contests in preparation for the 2008 regular season. The Wildcats opened with a 4-0 victory over Lewis University Aug. 16, with all the scoring coming in the second half. Later that same day, Northwestern traveled to Ocean City, N.J., where the team trained for a week and participated in a pair of matches. The 'Cats topped Villanova 3-2 in the opening match of their trip on Aug. 19 in Richland, N.J., with Eamon O'Neill posting a pair of tallies. The team wrapped up its trip with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over St. John's at Richard Stockton College in Pomona, N.J. The match marked a homecoming for NU head coach Tim Lenahan who is an alum of Richard Stockton and coached there for eight years. O'Neill paced Northwestern with three goals in exhibition play, while Kevin Valenta and Matt Eliason added two apiece. Freshman Jonathan Harris earned all three wins in goal.

    Looking Ahead
    Following the 2008 Lakeside Classic, the Wildcats will hit the road next weekend as they travel to Easton, Pa., to participate in the Lafayette Classic. Northwestern faces Iona on Friday before taking on host Lafayette on Sunday.