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    Wildcats Host Western Illinois in 2012 NCAA Tournament Thursday at Lakeside

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan and the Wildcats are making their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance.
    Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan and the Wildcats are making their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance.

    Nov. 12, 2012

    Watch the 'Cats React to Their NCAA Selection!

    2012 NCAA Tournament
    First Round Match
    Northwestern (11-5-4)
    vs. Western Illinois (7-8-5)
    Thursday, Nov. 15 • 7 p.m. CT
    Lakeside Field (Evanston, Ill.)
    Live Video: (FREE)
    Live Stats: Gametracker
    In-Game Tweets: @NU_SportsLIVE

    NCAA Tournament Central • NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament Digital Program

    2012 NCAA Men's Soccer Bracket Get Acrobat Reader

    Northwestern vs. Western Illinois NCAA Tournament Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    Thursday’s Match
    Northwestern received an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament and will host its first-round match Thursday at Lakeside Field. The Wildcats welcome the 2012 Summit League Tournament Champions, Western Illinois, to Evanston, Ill., for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
    A FREE webstream will be available for fans that are unable to make it to Lakeside Field and live updates will also be provided via Twitter on @NU_SportsLIVE, along with Gametracker.
    Lenahan Chips In
    Head coach Tim Lenahan is picking up the tab for Northwestern students and local youth for Thursday’s NCAA Tournament match. Lenahan is paying for all Northwestern students to attend Thursday’s match if they show their Wildcard upon entry. He also is providing FREE entry to youth in the eighth grade and under that are accompanied by a paying adult!
    For all other individuals, tickets are available the day of the match and are $8 for adults and $5 for youth and seniors.
    Wildcats Go Dancing Again
    Northwestern is making its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance, and all of those appearances have come during the Tim Lenahan era. The Wildcats are 7-6-1 all-time in the tournament and are making back-to-back appearances after receiving the automatic bid in 2011 as Big Ten Tournament Champions. Additionally, Northwestern is 5-1-1 when hosting an NCAA Tournament game.
    A year-by-year history in the NCAA Tournament can be found on pages 6-7 of the notes, which are linked at the top of the page.

    Watch the 'Cats React to Their NCAA Selection

    Familiar Foes
    It is fitting that the Wildcats are hosting Western Illinois in the 2012 NCAA Tournament as the Leathernecks were NU’s first NCAA foe back in 2004. This was the first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance for both Northwestern and Western Illinois and the Wildcats took the match, 4-1 in Evanston. Western Illinois and Northwestern are familiar opponents, playing 17 contests all-time, with the Wildcats holding a 10-7 advantage.
    The teams last played in 2009, with Northwestern, ranked 16th at the time, winning 3-2. Western led 2-1 at halftime, but two Wildcat second half goals clinched the game for Northwestern.
    Quality Results vs. Quality Opponents
    Northwestern had four wins over the top 30 teams in the RPI, and according to head coach Tim Lenahan, that has never been done before in program history. The most notable win in those four came at Lakeside Field on Oct. 9 when the Wildcats downed Notre Dame, 2-1, who is the No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament with the top RPI in the country. In total, Northwestern is 4-1-1 against teams in the top 30 in the RPI and those results are as follows:
    8/31/12           vs. No. 25 Kentucky               W, 2-1 (OT) *Match played at neutral site
    9/23/12           vs. No. 27 Michigan                W, 2-0
    9/30/12           at No. 30 Michigan State         W, 2-1 (OT)
    10/9/12           vs. No. 1 Notre Dame             W, 2-1
    11/1/12           at No. 10 Indiana                    T, 1-1 (2OT)
    11/9/12           vs. No. 27 Michigan                 L, 3-0
    Northwestern also has a tie against Xavier, putting its record against this year’s NCAA Tournament field at 4-1-2. All of the NCAA Tournament teams Northwestern faced during the regular season (Notre Dame, Michigan State, Xavier, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan) are on the other side of the bracket.
    Senior Sendoff...Again
    The six Northwestern seniors have a unique opportunity to once again play what could be their final match at Lakeside Field. NU honored its seniors prior to the Penn State match on Oct. 21 and the regular-season home finale was Oct. 24 against Northern Illinois. The seniors were back on the pitch at Lakeside Field Nov. 7-9, playing two games in the Big Ten Tournament. The Wildcats were unable to record victories against Penn State, Northern Illinois and in the tournament semifinals, and now the seniors have the opportunity to end their Lakeside Field careers with a win Thursday in the NCAA Tournament.
    It is also fitting, that this group of six, which includes Jarrett Baughman, Nick Gendron, Chris Ritter, Kyle Schickel, Tommy Tombridge and Michael Walbridge, were all on the team the last time NU hosted an NCAA Tournament game, which was a second-round 3-1 victory over Notre Dame in 2009. This is the third NCAA Tournament appearance for the group of seniors (2009, 2011, 2012).
    Scouting Western Illinois
    Western Illinois received an automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament by virtue of winning the 2012 Summit League Tournament title. The Leathernecks downed Oakland, 3-1 in the tournament championship match and beat Kansas City 1-0 in OT to advance to the title match.
    Nathan Bruinsma leads WIU with eight goals while seven other players have scored at least one goal this year. Yves Dietrich has played all of the team’s minutes in net this year, posting a 1.18 goals-against average in 20 matches.
    NU and Western Illinois did not face each other in 2012 but have a number of common opponents in DePaul (2-1 W for Western), Wisconsin (0-0 T for Western), Drake (2-1 L for Western) and Bradley (1-1 T for Western).


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