No. 25 Northwestern Opens Big Ten Play With 1-0 Win Over No. 15 Ohio State
Oct. 4, 2009
Courtesy of Northwestern
COLUMBUS, Ohio - No. 25 Northwestern continued its recent dominance over Ohio State Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium as the Wildcats won their Big Ten opener by posting a 1-0 victory over the 15th-ranked Buckeyes. It is the fourth consecutive regular-season win for NU over Ohio State.
The win extends Northwestern's unbeaten streak to seven straight matches while raising its season record to 5-1-3 overall and 1-0-0 in conference play. The Buckeyes fall to 5-2-3 and 1-1-0.
The Wildcats controlled possession through the majority of the first half, but neither team was able to tally. Matt Eliason had a shot from within the box whistle just wide of the cage, while Mark Blades' free kick clanged off the crossbar and OSU keeper Ryan Dalton was able to make a save on Eliason's ensuing rebound shot.
NU held a 7-5 advantage in shots over the opening 45 minutes of play.
The difference in the match came six minutes and 15 seconds into the second half as Hillgard got loose at the right side of the box and beat Dalton inside the near post to give the Wildcats the one-goal advantage. Oliver Kupe and Drew Pavlovich were credited with assists on the play.
Ohio State pressured the visitors the rest of the way, but the Northwestern defense stood tall. After missing the last two matches due to injury, senior goalkeeper Misha Rosenthal returned to the lineup and made seven saves to earn his 25th career shutout.
The Buckeyes' best chance came just over eight minutes after Hillgard's score as Andrew Magill fired a shot at the top of the goal. However, Rosenthal was able to leap high into the air to punch the ball over the cage to preserve the one-goal advantage.
OSU managed eight shots after the intermission, but Rosenthal made four of his saves to allow the Wildcats to win their Big Ten opener for the fourth consecutive year, all against the Buckeyes.
Northwestern returns to action Wednesday as it travels to DeKalb, Ill., to face Northern Illinois.