Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Roth powers Cats to semis (Men’s Soccer)

By Philip Rossman-Reich

The Daily Northwestern

Senior midfielder David Roth set the tone early for No. 14 Northwestern against Wisconsin yesterday.

Roth scored on a deflection from freshman forward Piero Bellizzi’s corner kick a little more than a minute into the game to give the Wildcats the first goal.

The senior then fought through injury and scored his second goal in the 52nd minute, and sophomore defender Mark Blades added a diving header to help the Cats advance to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament with a 3-1 win over the Badgers in East Lansing, Mich.

“I thought the end of the first half they took it to us a little bit,” coach Tim Lenahan said. “We were able to regroup at halftime and talk about how we’re going to have a tough game in front of us. We came out right away (in the second half) and we were a different team.”

Wisconsin (6-7-6) tied the game in the 32nd minute when defender Andy Miller scored his first career goal. He took the clearance off a Wisconsin corner kick and shot the ball through traffic past senior goalkeeper Justin Pines.

The two teams went to the half tied at one, but NU (12-3-4) went back on top seven minutes into the second half

Blades passed the ball to freshman forward Matt Eliason at the top of the box. Eliason had his defender screened off and he passed it to Roth in full stride. The senior was able to score from there.

Roth left the game in the fourth minute after midfielder Taylor Waspi made a hard foul. He did not re-enter the game until the second half. Lenahan said Roth was just kicked hard and the pain subsided enough for Roth to play in the second half.

“When your best player, your captain, the guy you have really counted on for four years can play through pain, I think it lifted everyone up a little bit,” Lenahan said. “Sure enough, (Roth) scoring that game-winning goal really rallied us. It was definitely a lift. I thought we were doing OK without him. But once he decided he was able to play it really lifted the whole team.”

The Cats got an insurance goal in the 66th minute when Blades made a diving header in traffic off a rebound from a Bellizzi shot.

Pines took over with a two-goal lead, as Wisconsin increased its offensive pressure. Pines made three of his seven saves after NU’s third goal.

“Justin has a very good calming presence,” Lenahan said. “He gave up a goal today, but other than that he has a very good calming presence and with the strength of his leg, he gets you out of trouble sometimes. I thought he did a very good job in terms of managing the game and we were able to score three goals as well, which gives you room for error as a goalkeeper.”

The teams combined for 33 shots, 17 on goal. NU gave up seven shots in the first half and 10 in the second, with many shots coming as Wisconsin desperately tried to fight its way back into the game.

The Cats advanced to the Big Ten tournament semifinals for the fourth time since the tournament started in 1991. NU last reached the semifinals in 2004, when the team made its only appearance in the championship game.

NU will face No. 18 Ohio State (12-3-4) today. The Cats defeated the Buckeyes 4-0 at Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 23. But since that game Ohio State has gone 6-1-3.

“We’re going to continue to try and do some things we did in the first game,” Lenahan said. “Obviously it’s not going to be a 4-0 game this time. We’re just going to continue doing what we try to do. I think we match up pretty well with them and we’ll see what happens.”

Reach Philip Rossman-Reich at

[email protected].

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Roth powers Cats to semis (Men’s Soccer)