Last minute heroics help Wildcats draw even with Musketeers

By Nader Ihmoud

The Northwestern University Wildcats men’s soccer team opened its season Aug. 25 with a draw against the Xavier University Musketeers on its home turf, Lakeside Field, 2247 N. Campus Drive.

All hope seemed lost for the Wildcats until goalkeeper Tyler Miller sailed a ball into Musketeer territory, resulting in a foul and penalty kick for Wildcats midfielder Chris Ritter.

“I really didn’t know anything or what would happen when I got the ball; I just figured we had one more chance to score a goal,” Miller said. “I was just going try and get the ball up [the field] as fast as I can. Luckily we got a goal out of it.”

Ritter, who was fouled on that play, pushed the goal passed Musketeer goalkeeper Justin Marshal. Ritter’s equalizer sent the game into overtime and helped his team avoid its first loss of the season.

Neither team was able to score a goal in either of the two overtime periods. Wildcats Head Coach Tim Lennahan said he wants more out of his team offensively but was still happy with the effort it displayed.

“We really didn’t generate any chances and really didn’t get going until we started getting a little more desperate,” Lennahan said.

The Wildcats, who are the defending Big Ten champions, entered their first regular season game ranked No. 20 by the NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I men’s preseason rankings. The team has nine returning starters from the 2011 season.

Northwestern’s next game is on the road at Kentucky University on Aug. 31.