Men’s Soccer: NU seeks first home, fifth consecutive victory

The+Wildcats+and+sophomore+Joey+Calistri+are+back+at+home+this+weekend+and+looking+to+extend+their+four-game+winning+streak.+Calistri+leads+the+Big+Ten+in+goals+scored+and+points+per+game.
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Men’s Soccer: NU seeks first home, fifth consecutive victory

The Wildcats and sophomore Joey Calistri are back at home this weekend and looking to extend their four-game winning streak. Calistri leads the Big Ten in goals scored and points per game.

The Wildcats and sophomore Joey Calistri are back at home this weekend and looking to extend their four-game winning streak. Calistri leads the Big Ten in goals scored and points per game.

Daily file photo by Meghan White

The Wildcats and sophomore Joey Calistri are back at home this weekend and looking to extend their four-game winning streak. Calistri leads the Big Ten in goals scored and points per game.

Daily file photo by Meghan White

Daily file photo by Meghan White

The Wildcats and sophomore Joey Calistri are back at home this weekend and looking to extend their four-game winning streak. Calistri leads the Big Ten in goals scored and points per game.

Enrique Perez, Reporter

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As last year’s Big Ten Champions, Northwestern is committed to defending its title.

With a 4-1 season already underway, coach Tim Lenahan said the Wildcats’ effort has been a collective one, with everyone from freshmen to seniors committing equally.

“We have to let the (freshmen) grow into the role,” Lenahan said. “That’s a process. I don’t have the process down 100 percent, but you want those guys, as the season wears on, to be able to contribute.”

Freshmen have recorded time in each of the first four games, a testament to Lenahan’s process. Midfielder Brandon Medina and forward Mike Roberge have already shown up on the score sheet, with one goal apiece. Medina’s goal made a difference in the second game of the season, when NU and DePaul went scoreless into double overtime. His point put Northwestern up for good and secured the Cats’ first victory of the season.

“We knew going into the first game that it was going to be a very tough game,” sophomore forward Joey Calistri said. “You’re always nervous for the first game, but we’ve gotten that out of the way and now we know what we can do.”

Calistri has made crucial contributions to the team, including a hat trick in a 4-0 win against Green Bay in the Northern Illinois University Soccer Tournament. He has tallied up six goals in the first five games. Despite already receiving two consecutive Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week awards, he continues to have a team-oriented mindset.

“I’m playing because I want to win games with this team and all of the guys on the team,” he said.

The team has bounced back, winning four consecutive games since the opening day loss to University of California Santa Barbara.  NU has yet to concede any goals since the first game and has produced nine during the winning streak.  The back line of the defense and junior goalkeeper Tyler Miller have worked together to prevent any offensive advances from the opposition. Miller boasts four clean sheets this season, evidence of hard work put in from an experienced team.

“I don’t think our strengths are any secret to anybody,” Lenahan said. “We have a hard working forward, some flank play and a veteran midfield group.”

This weekend, the team will have its hands full playing two games in the Lakeside Classic in Evanston.  Lenahan said the first game Friday against Saint Mary’s will pose a special challenge.

“They’re going to be a very tough opponent in all senses,” he said. “They have culture, team spirit and good players.  You’re going to have to earn everything. We’re still going to try to play the way we play, and if that doesn’t work I have some options.”

Momentum has swung in favor of the Wildcats, but they are still in search of a home win.

“We’ve been playing really well, but we’ve got to keep it going right now,” Calistri said. “We’ve got two really hard games coming up against Saint Mary’s and Fairleigh Dickinson, so we know that nothing’s going to come easy this weekend. We have to battle for a couple of results at home.”

Email: enriqueperez2015@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @EPerez1792

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