Soccer roundup: Men take home tournament title, women best 2011 season

Ava Wallace and Rebecca Friedman

NU men’s soccer remains unbeaten

The Wildcats are starting to prove 2011 was not a fluke.

Northwestern remains unbeaten after taking home the NIU Adidas Invite title and picking up two wins this weekend on the road in DeKalb, Ill.

The Wildcats (3-0-2) defeated Drake University (1-4-0) 2-1 in overtime Friday and went on to take the tournament in a 3-2 win over Rhode Island University (0-3-2) on Sunday

Coach Tim Lenahan said the win was especially rewarding because the team lost the Adidas tournament last year. He emphasized that early season victories are a priority this year.

“We’re trying to grind out some good results,” Lenahan said. “As much as we enjoyed an 11-game winning streak last season, we don’t want to have to depend on that every year to get into the tournament.”

Midfielder Chris Ritter was named MVP of the tournament after scoring the game-winning goal Friday and contributing two second-half assists in Sunday’s final. The performance made the senior the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.

Senior midfielder Kyle Schickel put NU on the board Friday with a header from inside the six-yard box for his second goal of the season.

The NIU Invite also allowed the team’s younger talent to shine.

Freshman forward Joey Calistri scored the second and third goals of his career, including the game-winner in the 67th minute against Rhode Island. Calistri was named to the All-Tournament team with junior defender Scott Lakin and sophomore defender Grant Wilson.

Lenahan said he relied on fresher faces such like Calistri to step up while the team deals with some injuries. One of those newer players, sophomore midfielder Eric Weberman, scored NU’s first goal Sunday.

The coach said he expects junior midfielder Connor Holloway to miss the rest of the year with a broken foot. Junior midfielder Layth Masri only played about 30 minutes total over the weekend due to an injury.

So far, these injuries have made it difficult for NU to find its rhythm.

“At the beginning of the season, it takes time to get everything going together,” Lenahan said. “And certainly, having some injuries does affect your continuity.”

— Ava Wallace

NU women’s soccer doubles win total from last season

In only three days, Northwestern managed to match its win total from all of last season.

The Wildcats kept both Northern Illinois and Yale out of the net this weekend with a pair of 2-0 victories over the non-conference foes.

The wins propelled the Cats to a 4-2-1 overall record entering their first conference game against Nebraska, coming up Friday at Lakeside Field.

Coach Michael Moynihan said the level of play that the Cats have faced in the non-conference part of their schedule will prepare them for Big Ten competition.

“We’ve seen a lot of different types of teams,” he said. “Every game is an opportunity to make progress.”

The Cats battled through the wind, rain and a power outage Friday to outlast Northern Illinois.

Sophomore midfielder KK Barr opened the scoring for NU with her first collegiate goal shortly after entering the game in the 31st minute. Sophomore Nikki Sebo sealed the deal in the second half with her third goal of the season. The shutout gave freshman goalie Rachel Bergman — who started the last four games due to sophomore Anna Cassell’s injury — her first career win.

NU followed a similar script against Yale on Sunday, jumping out of the gate early with two first-half goals.

“The style of play was attractive and fun to watch,” Moynihan said. “We want to give people something to get excited about.”

Moynihan said the largest improvement that the team has made this season is in diversity of scoring. Only two returning players had scored a goal coming into the season, but four different Wildcats scored over the weekend.

— Rebecca Friedman