Men’s Soccer: Cats need good Senior Day results


Daily file photo by Zack Laurence

Sophomore forward Elo Ozumba challenges the goalie in the air. Ozumba is tied for the team lead in goals and scored the Cats’ lone goal in a 1-1 tie against Notre Dame Tuesday.

Braden Couch, Reporter

Men’s Soccer

Northwestern’s regular season is coming to a close, and it faces a Michigan State team that it is looking up at in the race for the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats (5-6-2, 2-3-0 Big Ten) are fresh off an exhilarating double overtime draw. With the Big Ten Tournament approaching, coach Tim Lenahan said he isn’t focused on improving the team’s seeding heading into the Nov. 8 quarterfinals.

“Seeding in the Big Ten Tournament doesn’t matter,” he said. “Whoever you play is going to be a good team.”

The focus will continue to be on improving NU’s RPI, currently hovering at 61, thus improving the team’s chances of making the NCAA tournament. With four games remaining on the schedule for the Cats, it is easy to get caught looking ahead.

“I hate to sound like a coach, but we have to continue to take this one game at a time,” Lenahan said.

The team NU faces, Michigan State (7-5-2, 2-1-2 Big Ten), not only has a higher RPI, but also has taken the Cats to overtime four years in a row. Lenahan attributed the string of close results in the series to the similar successful cultures surrounding both programs.

The Spartans enter this game on the heels of a 4-1 loss to No. 5 Akron. Before the loss, Michigan State had won two in a row. Like NU, the Spartans will be looking to boost their tournament resume as the season nears its end, Lenahan said.

NU is led into this game by sophomore forward Elo Ozumba, the team’s sole goal scorer against Notre Dame. Although only a sophomore, he is tied for the team lead in goals scored this season. Ozumba believes the Cats can build off the positive result against the Fighting Irish.

“Michigan State is a good team, and they play a similar style to Notre Dame, so the game plan should be pretty similar,” he said.

The Saturday afternoon tilt is Senior Day for the Cats. It will be the final home game for eight NU players, including senior defender Henry Herrill. Herrill was an integral part of the defensive effort that yielded only one goal this past Tuesday against Notre Dame.

“It’s been a great experience at Northwestern these past four years,” he said. “Hopefully I can end it with my last home game being a good one.”

The game kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Bridgeview, Illinois.

Tags: Northwestern men’s soccer, Elo Ozumba, Tim Lenahan, Henry Herrill, Michigan State, Senior Day

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Twitter: @bradencouch