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    Wildcats Visit Illini Thursday Night

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Natalie Cikos is one of six freshmen to see significant playing time this season.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Natalie Cikos is one of six freshmen to see significant playing time this season.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Oct. 17, 2012

    Northwestern (4-10-2, 0-8-0 B1G)
    at Illinois (7-6-2, 4-3-1 B1G)
    Thursday, Oct. 18 • 7 p.m.
    Illinois Soccer Stadium
    Live Stats: Gametracker
    Live Video: Big Ten Digital Network on Wildcats All-Access

    Illinois Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    Thursday's Match
    The Wildcats finish their three-game run on the road this Thursday when they head to Illinois. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Illinois Soccer Stadium. NU’s match vs. the Illini is the lone midweek match of the season as most of the matches have taken place on the weekend.
     
    Last Time Out
    Last Friday, the ‘Cats traveled to Madison, Wis. where they took on the Badgers. Northwestern rallied for a late goal in the second half by junior Bo Podkopacz, her second career score. The ‘Cats continued to fight for the rest of the game, but were ultimately unable to make up the deficit in the 2-1 Wisconsin win. Freshman goalkeeper Rachel Bergman topped her own career-high record of five saves from last weekend with six saves against the Badgers.
     
    Following Wisconsin, the ‘Cats traveled to Minnesota to face the Golden Gophers on Sunday. Northwestern’s defense was stellar and successfully held Minnesota to only 10 shots in the game – well below their season average. However, the Big Ten’s leading goal-scorer, Minnesota’s Taylor Uhl, was able to put one in late in the second half, giving the Gophers the lead and eventually the win, 1-0.
     
    Youth Movement
    This year’s Northwestern roster includes a total of 18 underclassmen (seven freshmen and 11 sophomores) and 10 upperclassmen (seven juniors and three seniors). A number of the freshmen and sophomores on the team have seen significant minutes, most notably, sophomore defender Jackie Alyinovich who has played more than 97 percent of the team’s minutes this year (1,439 of a possible 1,484 minutes). Of the eight newcomers (seven freshmen, one sophomore), defender Jennifer Korn has played the most minutes at 1,126 in 15 of the team’s 16 matches (13 starts). Every NU newcomer has played at least one match this season. Here’s a look at the minutes played for six of the newcomers that have seen significant time:

    Name Min. Games Starts
    Jennifer Korn (D) 1,126 15 13
    Natalie Cikos (M/D) 971 14 9
    Margo McGinty (M) 937 13 9
    Rachel Bergman (GK) 630 8 6
    Nandi Mehta (M) 351 15 2
    Katie Gancedo (M) 248 14 0

    Scouting Illinois
    Illinois is (7-6-2) on the season and (4-3-1) in Big Ten play. The Illini also played Minnesota and Wisconsin last weekend, losing both matches. The Gophers tallied the 3-0 decision on Friday with Uhl scoring two goals and Wisconsin escaped with the 2-1 victory in double overtime. Illinois has Big Ten wins over Iowa (2-1), Ohio State (1-0), Indiana (2-1) and Michigan State (3-2) and tied 1-1 with Purdue. Junior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo has only played eight of the team’s 15 matches this year but leads the team in scoring with four goals. DiBernardo missed the other five matches when she was playing in the U-20 World Cup Qualifying Tournament. Goalkeeper Steph Panozzo has played all of the team’s minutes in net and has a 1.29 goals-against average.

    Up Next
    Northwestern returns to Lakeside Field Sunday for the final home contest of the 2012 season and will host Senior Day prior to the 2:30 kickoff vs. Iowa. Be sure to arrive early to honor NU seniors Meredith Finsand, Jessica Rubin and Bri Westlund as they make their final appearance at Lakeside Field.

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