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Northwestern men's soccer stays in race for title with tie

by Callie Counsellor (@CCounsellor)

Player(s) of the game: The Northwestern defense stepped up yet again, holding Wisconsin to just four shots and one shot on goal in a 0-0 double-overtime draw Sunday afternoon. “I thought (the defense) played very well,” coach Tim Lenahan said. “They got behind us one time and (goalkeeper) Tyler (Miller) made the save but other than that we were very tight defensively.” The Wildcats have allowed only two goals in their last three games, though the two goals both came in overtime losses.

Game-changer: The Cats’ best opportunity came in the second half when freshman forward joey Calistri pounded a shot that was knocked away by Wisconsin goalkeeper Chase Rau. The rebound went to junior midfielder Lepe Seetane, who just missed, banging one off the left side of the crossbar.

Stat of the game: Miller recorded his seventh shutout of the season and sixteenth of his career in only his second season, moving him into second all-time in the Wildcat record books, tied with George Kokodynski (1987-1990). The record is 29, held by Misha Rosenthal (2005-2009).

What it means: Combined with a Penn State tie and an Indiana loss, NU’s tie put them one point behind Penn State (9-4-3, 3-1-2 Big Ten) for first place in the conference. Penn State is atop the standings with 11 points, followed by NU (10-4-3, 3-1-1) with 10, and Indiana (11-4-2, 3-2-0) and Michigan State (8-7-1, 3-2-0) with nine.

What’s next: Northwestern finishes its regular season schedule at Indiana on Thursday. Because Penn State already played its last regular season game, an NU victory would give them sole possession of the Big Ten title. A tie, combined with a Michigan State loss or tie, would give them a share of the Big Ten title, along with Penn State. In short, NU controls its own destiny in the Big Ten. “Indiana is probably the most famous program in the country in terms of seven national championships, the history, the tradition they have there,” Lenahan said. “It should be a great atmosphere, probably a great crowd, and I wouldn’t have drawn it up any other way than to have to go to Bloomington to try to win a Big Ten championship.”