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    Big Ten Title on the Line Thursday at No. 22 Indiana

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller recorded his seventh shutout of the season Sunday at Wisconsin.

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller recorded his seventh shutout of the season Sunday at Wisconsin.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Oct. 31, 2012

    Northwestern (10-4-3, 3-1-1 B1G)
    at No. 22 Indiana (11-4-2, 3-2-0 B1G)
    Thursday, Nov. 1 • 7 p.m. CT
    Bloomington, Ind.
    Jerry Yeagley Field at Bill Armstrong Stadium
    TV: Big Ten Network (LIVE)
    Live Stats: Gametracker
    In-Game Tweets: @NU_SportsLIVE

    Indiana Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    Thursday's Match
    For the second time in as many years, Northwestern has a chance to win the Big Ten title in its final regular-season match. This year, the Wildcats visit Bloomington, Ind., to take on No. 22 Indiana Thursday at 7 p.m. CT. Thursday's match will air live on the Big Ten Network with Dan Kelly and Chris Doran on the call.

    NU faced a similar scenario in 2011. The Wildcats traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., needing a win to secure their first Big Ten title. After 83 minutes of scoreless soccer, Chris Ritter broke through at the 83:09 mark, scoring the game-winner to give NU the 1-0 win and 2011 Big Ten title.

    What's At Stake
    The Wildcats (3-1-1) currently have 10 points and a win against the Hoosiers would give them sole possession of the Big Ten title with 13 points. A tie against Indiana could give them a share of the Big Ten title, along with Penn State, as both teams would have 11 points and Indiana would finish with 10 but NU would then also need Michigan State (3-2-0, nine points) to lose or tie at Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 3. A Spartan victory would put them at 12 points while a tie gives them 10.

    Here's a look at the top of the Big Ten standings heading into the final week of competition:

    Team Record Pts Games Left
    Penn State 3-1-2 11 0
    Northwestern 3-1-1 10 at Indiana, Thursday
    Indiana 3-2-0 9 vs. Northwestern, Thursday
    Michigan State 3-2-0 9 at Michigan, Saturday

    Last Time Out
    The Wildcats visited Madison, Wis., last Sunday to take on the Badgers and the two teams battled to a 0-0 draw after 110 minutes of soccer. Neither team had many scoring opportunities in the game as Northwestern outshot the Badgers 10-4 and NU sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller only had to make one save over the course of the game. The game marked Miller's seventh shutout of the season and 16th of his Northwestern career.
     
    The closest scoring opportunity came in the 62nd minute. Sophomore midfielder/defender Grant Wilson sent in a corner kick that found Joey Calistri's foot on the far post. UW goalkeeper Chase Rau blocked Calistri's shot, but junior midfielder Lepe Seetane got a quick second shot that hit the crossbar. Rau finished the game with five saves.
     
    Extra, Extra Time
    Northwestern tied a school record on Sunday, playing its eighth overtime match of the season, matching the record set in 2009 and 2004. NU's first four matches to start the season went to extra time and NU is currently on another overtime streak, playing extra time in its last three matches. Before this year, the Wildcats had never played four-consecutive overtime matches. NU is 3-2-3 in overtime this year.
     
    Miller Moving Up
    Northwestern's shutout of Wisconsin on Sunday helped sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller move up in the NU record book. The shutout was the 16th of Miller's career, which ties him with George Kokodynski (1987-90) for second all-time. He has seven shutouts this season to tie fir third in single-season history and his nine shutouts in 2011 rank second. Miller has played 36 career games in net for NU and has shutouts in 16 of those games (44.4 percent of his matches in net have been shutouts).
     
    Dominating Defense
    While Miller has provided a steady presence in net for Northwestern, the Wildcat defense has done its part in stopping the ball before it even gets to him. Miller has only faced seven shots on goal in the last five games. Three of those came in NU's 1-0 victory over Ohio State and Miller did not face a single shot on target in the 2-0 shutout of Loyola. In fact, the Ramblers and Badgers were both limited to just two shots for the entire game and in both games, the two shots came after halftime.
     
    The NU defense has only allowed two goals in Big Ten play, which is the least amount of goals allowed in the conference. Northwestern has a 0.47 goals-against average, allowing jut three goals, in the last six games. The Wildcats are 5-0-2 when shutting out its opponent and 4-2-1 when allowing one goal.
     
    Scouting Indiana
    Indiana fell to Michigan State 3-1 on the road last Saturday. Spartan midfielder Jay Chapman got a hat trick in the game and the Hoosiers did not answer until the 78th minute when sophomore forward Eriq Zavaleta scored his 15th goal of the season. Indiana was out shot 12-11 in the game but had a 9-7 advantage on corner kicks, five of which came within the first twelve minutes of play.
     
    The Hoosiers have a record of 11-4-2 this season and are 3-2 in conference play. They are one of the four teams in the running for the Big Ten Title, along with Northwestern, Michigan State, and Penn State. Zavaleta leads the team in scoring with 15 goals on the season and junior midfielder A.J. Corrado is a key playmaker with nine assists this year.
     
    Last Year vs. Indiana
    Northwestern played two exciting matches against the Hoosiers in 2011, both of which ended in draws. NU hosted Indiana at Lakeside Field during the regular-season finale and came back from a 2-1 deficit for the draw. Lepe Seetane got the 'Cats on the board first in the 37th minute but IU responded with two second-half goals. Not ready to quit, Oliver Kupe did what he did best during his tenure at NU and scored another late-game goal with the equalizer at 84:54. IU recorded the only shot of the two OT periods as the physical game that included six yellow cards, resulted in the 2-2 tie.
     
    These two teams met again in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals and played to a 1-1 tie. Once again, NU used late-game heroics to come back. IU's Eriq Zavaleta scored the first goal of the game at 19:34 and then an own goal in the 76th minute put the match at 1-1. Lepe Seetane took a shot from the left side that an IU player tried to clear but the ball bounced off goalie Luis Soffner and into the net.
     
    Since the match ended in a draw, penalty kicks were needed to determine who would advance to the finals. It even took an extra round of PKs and Nick Gendron's final kick put the Wildcats into the finals.

    Up Next
    NU will welcome the six other conference squads to Lakeside Field from Wednesday, Nov. 7-Sunday, Nov. 11 for the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. The Wildcats won the 2011 tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich., and will take their turn at hosting the annual tournament at scenic Lakeside Field. More information can be found at Big Ten Tournament Central.

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