Oct. 13, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Northwestern, ranked No. 16 in this week's NSCAA poll, returns to action Wednesday night as it opens a four-game homestand against Western Illinois. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Lakeside Field. Gametracker and live streaming video can be accessed via NUsports.com.
The Wildcats will follow up the match against WIU by hosting Wisconsin this Saturday, Loyola Chicago Oct. 20 and Indiana Oct. 25.
In addition to its top-20 ranking in the national polls, NU debuted at No. 1 in NCAA's the initial release of its RPI which came out Monday. No stranger to playing a strong schedule, Northwestern owns the nation's fourth-highest RPI over the last three seasons.
The Wildcats (6-1-4) enter the contest against the Leathernecks undefeated in their last nine matches. NU remained undefeated but was forced to settle for a tie Sunday at Penn State. Eamon O'Neill gave Northwestern a 1-0 lead with five minutes left in regulation, but the Wildcats were called for a handball in the box in the final minute of the second half and the Nittany Lions were able to convert on the ensuing penalty kick.
Misha Rosenthal made nine saves in the contest and leads the Big Ten with an average of 5.44 stops per game. The result ended a stretch in which Northwestern had won its previous three matches by a 1-0 margin. After surrendering eight goals in their first four matches of 2009, the Wildcats have allowed just four in their last seven contests.
Junior forward Matt Eliason continues to lead NU offensively with a Big Ten-leading nine goals. The mark ranks tied for the fifth-most in the nation.
Western Illinois (3-7) is coming off a 1-0 victory Saturday over IUPUI. The victory snapped a three-match losing streak. Martin Browne Jr. is the lone Leatherneck to record multiple goals this season, leading the team with four tallies. Andrew Ryan and Stephen Paterson have shared time in goal, though Paterson has seen the majority of the action. He sports a 1.82 goals-against average and a .708 save percentage.