Aug. 30, 2012
No. 25 Northwestern (0-0-1) vs. Kentucky (0-1-0)
Friday, Aug. 31 • 4 p.m. (CT)
Columbia, S.C. • Stone Stadium
Live Stats: Gametracker
No. 25 Northwestern (0-0-1) vs. South Carolina (RV) (1-0-0)
Sunday, Sept. 2 • Noon (CT)
Columbia, S.C. • Stone Stadium
Live Stats: Gametracker
Live Video (FREE): GamecockOnline.com
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Gamecock Classic Match Notes
Northwestern plays in its first tournament of the season this weekend, heading to Columbia, S.C., for the Gamecock Classic. NU faces Kentucky Friday at 4 p.m. CT and then the host team, South Carolina, Sunday at noon with both matches played at Stone Stadium. No. 15 St. John’s also is part of the Gamecock Classic but the Wildcats won’t face the Red Storm.
This is the first of three tournaments for the Wildcats as they head to the NIU adidas Invite in DeKalb, Ill., Sept. 7-9 and host the Lakeside Classic in Evanston, Ill., Sept. 14-16.
Last Time Out
Northwestern opened up the 2012 campaign last Saturday at Lakeside Field, hosting Xavier. Coached by former NU associate head coach Andy Fleming, the Musketeers jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the first half. Xavier played with the lead most of the match before NU sophomore forward Eric Weberman was fouled in the box, setting up a penalty kick with nine seconds left in regulation. Senior midfielder Chris Ritter converted the penalty kick and tied the match at 1-1.
Both teams had good looks in the two overtime periods as NU fired off six shots combined and Xavier had three chances, but neither team was able to convert, giving NU a 1-1 tie in its first match of the year.
Northwestern athletic teams have a tendency to play in some exciting games over the years and have earned the nickname Cardiac ’Cats for their down-to-the-wire contests. The NU men’s soccer team is no different, proving in its home opener that every last second counts. The Wildcats relied on strong second halves during their 11-match unbeaten streak in 2011, which included a Big Ten regular season championship and tournament title, scoring 13 goals in the final 45 minutes of the game. Six of those 13 goals came in the final 15 minutes in key matches for NU.
In total, Northwestern has scored goals in the final 15 minutes of regulation in seven its last 12 matches, dating back to last year. Here’s the list:
• 8/25/12 - Chris Ritter (89:51) - Scores on PK to come back for 1-1 tie vs. Xavier in 2012 opener
• 11/11/11 - Own goal (Lepe Seetane shot, bounced off Indiana player and goalie into the net, 76:59) – Goal helped NU come back to tie then-No. 9 Indiana, NU eventually advanced 3-2 on PKs.
• 11/5/11 - Chris Ritter (83:09) – Goal gave NU 1-0 win over Michigan and clinched the Big Ten regular season title
• 10/30/11 - Oliver Kupe (84:54) – Goal helped NU come back to tie then-No. 10 Indiana, 2-2
• 10/23/11 - Nick Gendron (75:48) – Goal gave NU 1-0 win over Wisconsin
• 10/12/11 - Lepe Seetane (86:24) – Goal added to NU’s lead over Northern Illinois, Northwestern won 2-0
• 10/5/11 - Oliver Kupe (78:50) – Goal helped NU tie 1-1 with then-No. 12 Notre Dame
Babst Goes Back
First-year Northwestern assistant coach Mike Babst was on the South Carolina staff for five seasons before joining the Wildcats in March of 2012. During Babst’s time at South Carolina, the Gamecocks were the 2011 Conference USA regular season co-champions, won the 2010 Conference USA Tournament Championship and played in the NCAA tournament the last two seasons, finishing within the top-20 in RPI both years.
Babst worked primarily with the goalkeepers at South Carolina, including All-Conference USA honoree and MLS draftee Jimmy Maurer. Under Babst’s direction, Maurer earned numerous awards in net for Carolina, including All-South Region First Team, Conference USA Freshman of the Year (2007) and numerous C-USA Defensive Player of the Week awards.
It will be the Wildcats vs. the Wildcats in NU’s first game Friday vs. Kentucky, the first meeting between the two schools. UK (0-1) is coming off a season-opening loss at Dayton, a wild 4-3 game that was scoreless at halftime. The Wildcats got goals from each of its 2011 returning leading scorers in the second half vs. Dayton, as Matt Lodge, Charley Pettys and Tyler Riggs each netted goals. UK also got an assist from freshman midfielder Kristoffer Tollefsen, one of several newcomers to debut at UD. Freshman goalkeeper Callum Irving started in net vs. Dayton, making six saves. UK won the 2011 Gamecock Classic.
Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina is 1-0-0 after defeating College of Charleston 1-0 last Friday. Head coach Mark Berson has been at the helm of the South Carolina men’s soccer team since the program began 35 years ago. He was the 2011 Conference USA Coach of the Year and is among the all-time leaders for Division I victories. The Gamecocks return seven starters and 15 letterwinners off the 2011 squad that tied for first in the Conference USA and played in the NCAA Tournament.
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