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    No. 7 Wildcats Open Big Ten Play by Hosting No. 16 Ohio State

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM A win or a tie Saturday would give Northwestern its best start to a season in school history.
    A win or a tie Saturday would give Northwestern its best start to a season in school history.

    Sept. 25, 2008

    Ohio State Game Notes (PDF)

    EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern opens its 2008 Big Ten season Saturday evening as the seventh-ranked Wildcats host defending national runner-up and 16th-ranked Ohio State at Lakeside Field. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. NU head coach Tim Lenahan enters the contest one win shy of 200 for his collegiate coaching career.

    Fans unable to make it out to Lakeside can go to to access Gametracker as well as live streaming video of the contest.

    Scouting Ohio State
    The Buckeyes (5-1-1, 1-0-0) have won two straight contests, including a 1-0 victory over Michigan State in their Big Ten opener Sunday. Ohio State, which fell to Wake Forest in the national championship game last season, is paced offensively by senior Danny Irizarry's four goals and nine points. Junior Drew Czekanski sports a 0.82 goals-against average and a .793 save percentage in goal for the Buckeyes. John Bluem has a 123-82-29 record in 12 seasons as the head coach at Ohio State.

    Series Information
    Ohio State leads the all-time series with Northwestern 17-4-2, though the Wildcats have won the last two regular season meetings. NU posted a 4-0 win in its Big Ten opener at Columbus last season. The Buckeyes defeated the 'Cats 1-0 in the semifinal round of the 2007 Big Ten Tournament in East Lansing, Mich. Northwestern has won its last two Big Ten openers, both against OSU.

    Looking Back on Loyola Marymount/Princeton
    Northwestern (7-0-1) matched its best start ever to a season by posting a pair of 1-0 home wins over the weekend. The Wildcats battled past Loyola Marymount on Friday behind Drew Ratner's goal in the 83rd minute of play. The senior headed home a perfect serve from Piero Bellizzi off a corner kick. Earlier in the second half, Ratner had headed away a potential tally by the Lions off a direct free kick. Misha Rosenthal made one save to earn the shutout in goal. On Sunday, Princeton stood toe-to-toe with the Wildcats, but a goal by Matt Eliason just over 14 minutes into the second half was the difference. Tyler Voigt was credited with an assist on the play. It was the seventh goal of the season for Eliason, a mark that leads the Big Ten. Rosenthal tied a school single-season mark with his seventh shutout of the season.

    Rosenthal Earns Big Ten and National Recognition
    Junior goalkeeper Misha Rosenthal became the third Wildcat player this season to earn player-of-the-week honors from the Big Ten this season when he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. It is the second such honor for Rosenthal in his career and the first this season. He was also named the Top Drawer Soccer Men's College Player of the Week. Rosenthal posted shutout wins in goal in both of Northwestern's 1-0 victories against Loyola Marymount and Princeton over the weekend. The pair of shutouts raised his career total to 17, setting a school career record. George Kokodynski (1987-90) held the previous NU record of 16.

    Looking Ahead
    Northwestern steps outside Big Ten play next Tuesday as it travels to St. Louis for a huge non-conference tilt against the 12th-ranked Saint Louis Billikens. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.