Aug 28, 2013
Northwestern vs. UCSB/DePaul Match Notes
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 19 Northwestern opens up the 2013 campaign this weekend, hosting UC Santa Barbara in the home opener at Lakeside Field Friday at 7 p.m. and then stays close to home for its first road game of the year, facing DePaul on Monday at 2 p.m. at Wish Field. Right off the bat, the Wildcats face a UC Santa Barbara squad that is receiving votes in the preseason NSCAA Poll. The Gauchos are one of seven regular-season foes on this year’s schedule appearing in the preseason poll.
Look Who’s Back
Northwestern returns eight starters off of the 2012 Big Ten Championship squad, including four first team All-Big Ten honorees. A two-time first-team honoree, junior Tyler Miller, is back in net for Northwestern while fellow first-team All-Big Ten honoree, junior Nikko Boxall, also returns to the NU defense. Last year’s Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Chris Ritter is back for a fifth season while defending Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Joey Calistri, returns for his sophomore campaign.
Other starters returning for 2013 include junior midfielder/defender Grant Wilson, senior midfielder Lepe Seetane, senior defender Scott Lakin and senior midfielder Layth Masri. Junior forward Eric Weberman, along with sophomore midfielders Henry Herrill and Cole Missimo also return after making key contributions in 2012. After missing the 2012 season due to injury, senior midfielder/defender Connor Holloway also is back for the Wildcats in 2013. Holloway played 19 games, starting 17, during NU’s first Big Ten Championship and Big Ten Tournament title in 2011.
Preseason Honors for Ritter
Returning for his fifth season in the NU midfield, Chris Ritter has received a number of preseason accolades. He was recently named a candidate for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award. The award, which is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. It focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
He also was named to College Soccer News 2013 Preseason All-America Third Team, is on MLSSoccer.com’s Top 10 Players to Watch for 2013 and is one of three Wildcats, along with Layth Masri and Lepe Seetane, on the Big Ten Men’s Soccer Preseason Players to Watch List.
Miller on MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List
Tyler Miller has been named to the 2013 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy watch list. The Hermann Trophy, the most prestigious individual award in intercollegiate soccer, is awarded to the country’s top Division I soccer player. Miller is one of 34 players in the nation to make the watch list and is the Big Ten’s only representative.
A two-time First Team All-Big Ten goalkeeper, Miller played every minute of the 2012 season in net (2,185), starting all 23 games for Northwestern as NU won its second Big Ten title in as many years and advanced to the third round of the 2012 NCAA Championships.
He compiled a 13-6-4 record with a .730 save percentage and 0.82 goals-against average, the third best single-season mark in Wildcats history. A Second-Team All-Great Lakes Region and Academic All-Big Ten selection, Miller recorded 10 shutouts in 2012, the second most in a single season in NU history. He ranks second in school history with 19 all-time shutouts.
Northwestern returns 75 percent of its scoring from a year ago. The Wildcats scored 28 goals and seven different NU returnees accounted for 21 of those goals. Joey Calistri’s nine goals led Northwestern in 2012 while Chris Ritter contributed five. Eric Weberman had three goals, while Grant Wilson, Henry Herrill, Nikko Boxall and Lepe Seetane each contributed a goal last season.
New Faces on Lenahan’s Bench
There are two new faces on the Wildcats’ coaching staff for 2013 as Joe Ahearn and Jeff Oleck joined the squad in the offseason as assistant coaches. Ahearn arrived at Northwestern in February after spending six seasons as the head coach at Missouri S&T and also worked on the coaching staffs at Colgate and DePaul. Oleck was hired in June after spending the previous four seasons, including one as an associate head coach, at his alma mater Valparaiso.
Ahearn and Oleck replaced Neil Jones and Mike Babst, who both earned head coaching jobs in the Chicago area. Jones is now head coach at Loyola University while Babst is at the University of Chicago. Jones and Babst were the 15th and 16th members, respectively, of Lenahan’s coaching tree picked to lead a program.
Know The Foe: UC Santa Barbara
2012 Record: 10-6-3
Notable: UCSB is ranked No. 13 in the College Soccer News preseason poll and is tabbed No. 31 by College Sports Madness. Last year, the Gauchos were undefeated in their first 11 games of the season but went 2-6-0 in their final eight games and failed to make the NCAA tournament, snapping a streak of 10 consecutive appearances.
More Info: UCSBGauchos.com
Know The Foe: DePaul
2012 Record: 4-10-3
Notable: DePaul assistant coach Mark Plotkin served as NU's director of soccer operations for two seasons (2010 & 2011). The Blue Demons played Michigan to a 0-0 tie and defeated Western Illinois, 1-0, in exhibition matches.
More Info: DePaulBlueDemons.com
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