Oct. 2, 2012
No. 22 Northwestern (7-1-2, 2-0-0 B1G)
at Bradley (5-3-2, 0-0-0 MVC)
Wednesday, Oct. 3 6 p.m. CT
Live Video: BradleyBraves.com
In-Game Tweets: @BradleySoccer
Bradley Match Notes
The Wildcats return to nonconference action Wednesday, traveling to Peoria, Ill., to face Bradley. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Shea Stadium.
Welcome to October
Northwestern had a September to remember, posting a 6-1-1 record in the month but now looks to keep the momentum going in the second half of the season. October features a mix of nonconference and Big Ten opponents, beginning with Wednesday's match at Bradley. NU faces its highest-ranked opponent of the season so far next Tuesday when No. 10 Notre Dame visits Lakeside Field. That game is one of four home matches in October as NU also hosts Ohio State (Sunday, Oct. 14), Penn State (Sunday, Oct. 21) and the regular season home finale is Wednesday, Oct. 24 vs. Northern Illinois. Northwestern doesn't have to travel far for its final nonconference road match at Loyola on Wednesday, Oct. 17 and then wraps up the month on the road at Wisconsin on Sunday, Oct. 28.
Last Time Out
Northwestern staged a comeback Sunday afternoon in East Lansing, Mich., scoring two late goals in its 2-1 double-overtime victory against Michigan State. The Wildcats played with a man advantage after MSU's Jay Chapman received red card in the 75th minute for an intentional handball in the box and that set up senior Chris Ritter's penalty kick equalizer. Sophomore Eric Weberman tallied the golden goal early in the second overtime (102:15) to give the Wildcats their second Big Ten win of the season.
Northwestern's first goal was set up by a corner kick in the 75th minute. Sophomore Grant Wilson took the corner on the near right side and he found sophomore defender Nikko Boxall amongst a scrum at the far post. Boxall's header was on its way into the net, but Chapman was behind keeper Bryce Dobbins and Chapman's intentional handball stopped the goal, giving NU the penalty kick opportunity. Chapman also received a red card for the intentional handball in the box, leaving MSU with 10 players the remainder of the match. Ritter converted the NU penalty kick as he sent his shot past Dobbins on the left side for his fourth goal of the season.
Sophomore forward Eric Weberman then ended the match in the 103rd minute, scoring the golden goal. He took a pass from Wilson and sent in a shot to the bottom right corner of the net for his second goal of the season. Wilson, who entered Sunday's match as the Big Ten leader in assists, tallied his sixth helper on the year.
NU had the 11-6 advantage on shots and limited the Spartans to just two shots after the first half.
Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan has referred to Grant Wilson as the catalyst to the team's success the last two seasons and the numbers back up that claim. Wilson was inserted into the starting lineup as a freshman against Missouri State on Oct. 1, 2011, which was the beginning of Northwestern's 11-match unbeaten streak, and started 10 of the 11 matches in the streak (lone match he did not start was vs. Rockford College). In fact, the Wildcats have only lost two matches with Wilson in the lineup and are 14-2-5 in his 21 starts over the last two seasons.
Wilson is leading the team and entire conference in assists so far this season with six helpers. One more assist will tie Wilson for seventh on NU's single-season assist list. David Roth currently holds the NU single-season record with 14 helpers in 2004.
While Wilson's six assists are far ahead of anyone else in the conference, three other Wildcats have three helpers to rank second in the Big Ten. Senior midfielder Chris Ritter, senior forward Nick Gendron and sophomore forward Eric Weberman each have three assists for a 0.30 assists per game average.
Six Wildcats have tallied at least one assist this season as freshman Henry Herrill has two helpers (both vs. UWM) and senior Jarrett Baughman has one assist. With 18 total assists, NU leads the Big Ten in assists and assists per game at 1.80. PSU is in second behind Northwestern with 14 helpers for a 1.40 assist per game average.
Second Half Squad
Northwestern has scored 16 goals this year and 13 of those scores have come after halftime. NU only has three first-half goals, leaving the bulk of scoring for the second half with 10 goals. The Wildcats also have two goals in the first OT and another in the second OT period. The second-half goals have helped stage three comebacks as NU is 2-1-1 when its opponent scores first. NU used a second-half penalty kick to come back for a 1-1 tie vs. Xavier in the season-opener, overcame a 1-0 deficit to down Kentucky 2-1 in OT and also scored two unanswered goals against MSU last Sunday in the 2-1 double-overtime victory.
Where the 'Cats Rank
The NCAA released its updated statistics on Monday and Northwestern is ranked in a number of categories:
|Assists Per Game:
The Braves are out to a 5-3-2 start and most recently shut out Northern Kentucky, 1-0, last Saturday at home. Bradley was ranked No. 25 early in the season but has since dropped out of the rankings. Two players lead the team in goals as Keegan Balle and Jochen Graf have five goals each this season. The Braves are averaging 1.70 goals per game and 15.9 shots per contest. Much like Northwestern, Bradley is a second-half squad, scoring 11 of its 17 goals in the second half and one in overtime. In net, Brian Billings has a 1.14 goals-against average.
Northwestern is home for two matches next week, playing No. 10 Notre Dame at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Ohio State at noon Sunday at Lakeside Field. NU's match against the Buckeyes airs live on the Big Ten Network.
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