Big Ten clock is ticking (Men’s Soccer)

Brian Sumers

After faulting his team for its lack of urgency in Tuesday’s loss to Illinois-Chicago, Tim Lenahan asked his players to forget their foibles and focus on the future.

It’s a two-game season now.

The Northwestern men’s soccer team (6-6-4, 0-3-1 Big Ten) begins the final stretch of its 2003 campaign on Sunday, when it travels to Columbus, Ohio to play Ohio State.

The Cats are running out of time in their quest to win a Big Ten game for the first time since the 1999 season.Following their meeting with the Buckeyes, the Cats have just one regular- season game left — a Nov. 2 matchup against Wisconsin. Despite their record, the Cats are confident they can notch a couple of victories.

“We’ve seen and played the top teams in the Big Ten,” sophomore Brad Napper said. “There’s no reason we can’t beat Ohio State and Wisconsin.”

Although the Buckeyes (3-9-3, 2-2-0) are coming off a 3-0 loss to Indiana, they’ve played well during most of the Big Ten season. They’ve defeated Wisconsin and Penn State, but lost to Michigan State — a team the Cats tied earlier in the season.

Ohio State struggled in its nonconference

season against one of the strongest slates in the country. In their second game of the year, the Buckeyes lost 1-0 to No. 1 UCLA, the defending national champions.

The Cats, who lost 2-0 to Illinois-Chicago on Tuesday, will have to improve their offensive production against Ohio State. However, for the fourth-straight game, the Cats will be without sophomore midfielder Sammy Semwangu, who is out with a stress fracture in his left leg.

Without Semwangu, who Lenahan called the team’s most improved player, the Cats have have been forced to play sophomore Adam Sirois as a midfielder instead of a a defender.

NU is still trying to finish its season above the .500 mark — a goal the squad set during preseason practice. In order for that to happen, NU must win at least one of its final two games and win or tie in the other.

Still, after finishing with an 8-12