Site: Lakeside Field (Evanston, Ill.)
Score: No. 20 Northwestern 1, Xavier (RV), 1
Records: NU (0-0-1), Xavier (0-0-1)
Next NU Event:Friday, Aug. 31 – vs. Kentucky at Gamecock Classic – Columbia, S.C. – 4 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern used every last second in its 2012 season opener against Xavier Saturday night at Lakeside Field, scoring the equalizer with nine seconds left in regulation to force overtime. NU’s junior midfielder Chris Ritter scored the penalty kick after sophomore forward Eric Weberman was fouled in the box with nine seconds to play.
Northwestern’s scoring opportunity began with a heads-up play by sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller. With the clock winding down, he sprinted to stop an Xavier clear out from going out of bounds, which prevented a goal kick. Miller then punted the ball towards the Xavier half of the field and after a few header attempts, Weberman was fouled in the box, setting up the NU penalty kick.
Ritter scored the first goal of the season for Northwestern, sending it past Xavier goalkeeper Justin Marshall on the right side.
Neither team was able to score in the two overtime periods, despite six shots by the Wildcats (three in each OT), and the opener ended in a 1-1 draw.
"That was a hard-fought game and that was a good game,” Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan said. “We really were stagnant in the first half and really didn’t generate any chances. On the attacking side, we have to find a way to create some things and not be so frantic, but for the first game out, that was a tough game to play. We walked away with a point, so I’m satisfied with that.”
Xavier got on the board in the first half, scoring at the 13:42 mark. Luke Spencer was one-on-one with a Northwestern defender in the middle of the 18-yard box and put one past Miller’s right side.
Northwestern had some close looks in regulation, including a number of shots that just skimmed wide over the crossbar. The Wildcats had the 19-12 advantage on shots and the 7-5 edge in shots on goal.
NU ended up with the 6-4 advantage on corner kicks, but did not take its first corner until late in the second half. The Wildcats had three corners in the first overtime and two in the second overtime.
Two Northwestern freshmen started Saturday night as forward Joey Calistri had three shots and midfielder Cole Missimo added two looks. Sophomore forward Eric Weberman led the team with four shots off the bench.
In net, Miller saved four attempts while Marshall saved six shots.
Northwestern is back in action next weekend taking on Kentucky Friday, Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. CT at the Gamecock Classic in Columbia, S.C.
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