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Northwestern men's soccer falls to Michigan, still has chance for NCAA Tournament

by Callie Counsellor (@CCounsellor)

Player of the game: Freshman forward Joey Calistri was the only Northwestern player that managed any offensive threat in a 3-0 loss to Michigan on Friday afternoon. The unanimous Big Ten Freshman of the Year finished with two shots including one shot on goal and was the only NU player with more than one shot. “They were winning all the scrums today,” senior midfielder Chris Ritter said. “They were winning all the battles and it just seemed like they wanted it more.”

Game-changer: Michigan sophomore forward Tyler Arnone scored a nearly unstoppable goal less than four minutes into the game, floating the ball from the right side over the head of goalkeeper Tyler Miller into the left corner of the net. The early goal forced the Wildcats to play from behind from the get-go, but this didn’t look like the same team that came from behind to tie or win four times this season. “We’ve been down before,” junior defender Scott Lakin said. “It’s something that we’ve (dealt) with multiple times throughout the season. Most times we’ve been able to bounce back. Tonight, we pushed up a little bit and gave them a few chances and they punished us for it.” The Wolverines netted another goal a few minutes before halftime when Michigan forward T.J. Vanslooten passed straight through the NU defense to forward T.J. Roehn, who ricocheted the ball off the right goal post and into the net. Their third goal came just after halftime, when the usually steadfast NU defense broke down again

Stat of the game: Coach Tim Lenahan said that he knew the Cats needed to come out strong against a confident Michigan squad, but NU did just the opposite, trailing 7-1 in shots after just 12 minutes. “Coming out of the gates, they were on top of us,” Ritter said. “They had a couple chances that they probably should have scored before that and we just never really got going and before we knew it we were down 1-0.”

What it means: The Cats are eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan will play Michigan State for the Championship on Sunday.

What’s next: The Cats will have to wait until Monday to find out if they are headed to NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. They’ve made a good case for themselves with four wins over top 25 teams. “This is one of the better teams we’ve had (at Northwestern), no doubt, and hopefully the committee is smart enough to recognize when we do play those top teams, not only do we compete, (but) this is our first top 25 loss,” Lenahan said. “We didn’t give any farewell speeches today. I’m hoping people will recognize what we did, particularly at the top of the table against those teams.”