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    'Cats Close Three-Match Homestand Thursday Against No. 25 Illinois

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Kate Allen had five shots in last year's match against the Illini.

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Kate Allen had five shots in last year's match against the Illini.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Oct. 19, 2011

    Northwestern (2-12-1, 1-6-1) vs. #25 Illinois (11-4-1, 5-2-1)
    Thursday, October 20 – 7 p.m.
    Lakeside Field
    Evanston, IL
    Gametracker: NUSports.com
    Webstream: Big Ten Digital Network (NUSports.com)
    Twitter: NU_SportsLive

    Northwestern Women's Soccer Notes (PDF)

    EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern concludes its three-match homestand at Lakeside Field as in-state neighbors, and 25th-ranked, Illinois travel to Evanston on Thursday night for a 7 p.m. match.

    Scouting the Illini
    Illinois comes into the game with an overall record of 11-4-1 and a 5-2-1 mark in Big Ten Conference play, which ranks the team second in the conference standings. Sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBarnardo leads the attack with 13 goals and five assists on the season for a total of 31 points. She led the conference last year in both goals and points and looks on pace to lead the conference again. The Illini are ranked #25 nationally by the NSCAA poll released October 18.

    Last Time vs. the Illini
    Northwestern traveled to Champaign last November and lost on a late goal, 1-0 to the then-#16 Illini. Forward Kate Allen (Whitehouse, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) led the ’Cats with five shots in the match. Then-senior goalie Carolyn Edwards had eight saves in her final match as Wildcat goalie. Illinois had the only goal of the game in the 85th minute, which was scored by Niki Read off an assist by Vanessa DiBarnardo. Prior to last year’s match, Northwestern was 2-0-1 against Illinois in its previous three matches.

    Close Calls
    The ’Cats record of 2-12-1 is a little deceiving as eight of the losses have been by one goal and two have come in overtime.  Following this trend in conference play, three of Northwestern’s losses have come by a single goal.  This trend of close games bodes well for the ’Cats as they enter Big Ten Tournament play if they can get on the winning end of these one goal games.

    Last Three
    Northwestern is 1-1-1 in its last three matches. The Wildcats have 33 shots in that span and have turned that into two goals while their opponents have scored two goals on 53 shots. Kate Allen has seven shots in the last three matches while Niki Sebo (Downers Grove, Ill./North) and Sami Schrakamp (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) have six shots each. Northwestern has also battled through 26 corner kick opportunities for their opponents and have taken 12 of their own.

    Last Time Out
    Northwestern played two matches at Lakeside Field last weekend, tying with Wisconsin 1-1 on Friday and falling 1-0 in a tightly contested match against Minnesota on Sunday. On Friday, Niki Sebo scored the equalizer in the 87th minute to tie the game at 1-1 and force extra time against the Badgers, who came into Friday’s game second in the Big Ten standings. Northwestern held Minnesota scoreless until the 60th minute when the Golden Gophers got on the board. Northwestern took chances until the bitter end as a shot by Nicole Duller (Los Altos, Calif./Los Altos) was saved in the closing seconds.

    Tough Finish
    Northwestern is in the home stretch of the 2011 regular season with three games (including Thursday’s game) remaining before the Big Ten Tournament and all three of those opponents are in the top six of the conference standings. NU plays two of its last three matches at Lakeside Field before hosting the Big Ten Tournament. The Wildcats are guaranteed a bid in the eight-team tournament since they are the host school.

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