November 1, 2012
Northwestern keeps title hopes alive with tie
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Freshman forward Joey Calistri scored the equalizer lifitng Northwestern to a 1-1 tie with No. 22 Indiana at Armstrong Stadium Thursday night.
With Thursday night's tie, Northwestern still has a chance to claim a share of the Big Ten title. The Wildcats finished the Big Ten regular season with 11 points (3-1-2), which ties Penn State. In order for NU to claim a share, Michigan State needs to either lose or tie against Michigan Saturday in Ann Arbor. The Spartans have nine points entering their regular-season finale and a win would give them sole possession of the regular-season title at 12 points and a tie would put them at 10 points
“I'm really proud of our guys," Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan said. "Indiana played great, particularly in the first half, but I thought we really responded in the second half to put them under pressure and get the goal. At that point, there were ebbs and flows in the game and good chances by both teams. We still have a chance to be co-Big Ten champions and although we’re disappointed that we didn’t win it outright, we came on the road against a very good team and got a result so I’m really proud of the guys tonight. We’ll get ready to play next Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Big Ten Tournament and we’re looking forward to being back at home.”
NU was unable to record a shot in the first half, but still had a few scoring opportunities. Early in the game, freshman midfielder Cole Missimo found junior midfielder Lepe Seetane in the middle of the box but Seetane was unable to get a good look at the net.
Shortly after, Missimo sent a through ball to Calistri who was sprinting towards the goal but was called for offside.
The Hoosiers had five shots in the first half and Eriq Zavaleta put them on the board in the 29th minute with his Big Ten-leading 16th goal of the season.
Lenahan made some changes to his lineup to start the second half, playing forwards Calistri and Eric Weberman together and starting senior midfielder Kyle Schickel in place of Missimo.
The change paid dividends for the 'Cats because shortly after halftime, Weberman and Calistri worked together to score the equalizer and NU appeared to have a new energy in the second half. Weberman sent a pass from the left side of the field over to Calistri who caught IU goalkeeper Louis Soffner out of position. Calistri then lobbed a shot into the open net to tally his team-leading seventh goal of the season and tie things up in the 52nd minute.
Northwestern completely flipped the script on offense in the second half and challenged the Indiana defense with five of their six shots in the half in the first 15 minutes of the frame.
On the other end, Northwestern continued to play lockdown defense, blocking a number of IU shots and defending set pieces well. The Hoosiers had two free kicks just outside the 18-yard box, one on the right side, another on the left, and the NU defense prevented both from creating legitimate scoring opportunities. Another one from about 25 yards out in the middle, set up a straight shot for Zavaleta that NU sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller saved.
Northwestern continued to battle until the closing seconds of regulation with two throw-ins deep in IU territory and a corner kick in the closing seconds but was unable to convert as the two teams took the 1-1 tie into overtime.
Thursday's match was NU's fourth consecutive OT game and ninth of the season, which is a new program record. Early in the first OT, Calistri had good look on a cross from the right side that was picked off by Soffner and Missimo had the lone shot of the first OT period that saved by Soffner.
Indiana had the 5-0 mark on shots in the second overtime, including one that hit the left post and another that was saved by Miller and after 110 minutes, the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Miller saved a season-high seven shots while IU's Soffner had two saves. Indiana finished with 20 shots, compared to seven for the Wildcats. The Hoosiers also had the 4-2 clip on corner kicks.
Northwestern now turns its attention to hosting the 2012 Big Ten Tournament from Nov. 7-11 at Lakeside Field. The Wildcats will play the 6 p.m. match on Wednesday and will know their opponent and seed upon the conclusion of the Big Ten regular season on Sunday, Nov. 4.