#17 Northwestern Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

Northwestern Wildcats

Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten
#17 Northwestern Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
Northwestern Team Page


Northwestern tied Penn State atop the Big Ten standings in 2012 and earned yet another trip to the NCAA Tournament. The goal this year will be another conference title and another quality run in the tournament. The Wildcats played stout defense in their first two tourney games, shutting out Western Illinois and seventh seeded Marquette. The Louisville attack proved too much for Northwestern who allowed a very early goal and a very late goal to fall 2-1 in the third round.

2012 Record: 13-6-4, 3-1-2
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tim Lenahan

With eight starters returning, Northwestern will have experience all over the pitch. But they are strongest in the back where junior keeper Tyler Miller is back for his third season as the starter between the posts. During that two year stretch he has recorded 19 shutouts and allowed just 0.84 goals per game. Miller is the best in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country and he is just now an upperclassman. He is an athletic 6-4 keeper who is a great leader and a very smart player. The back line returns three starters led by center back Nikko Boxall. Scott Lakin and Grant Wilson, who led the team with seven assists, were starters last season as well and will be back to help keep Miller bored in goal. But it is the return of Chris Ritter that makes this such a tough defense to crack. Ritter netted five goals and added six assists, yet he is the glue guy who holds together the midfield and prevents the opposition from attacking up the middle.

The loss of midfielders Kyle Schickel and Nick Gendron could hamper the Wildcats attack. As it was last year Northwestern tied for second to last in the conference with 1.22 goals per game. That could be an even bigger problem this time around without Schickel scoring and Gendron setting up the strikers up top. Joey Calistri could be in for a huge year though after leading Northwestern with nine goals as a freshman. With a year of experience under his belt, Calistri should be more efficient. But Calistri needs help even if he does take that next step and there are not many experienced options for Coach Tim Lenahan to call on. Returning midfielders Lepe Seetane and Layth Masri have a ton of starting experience, but neither spent much time in the opposing box. Eric Weberman has shown potential mostly coming in off of the bench and has at least been productive during his limited playing time.

Final Projection:
A solid recruiting class, led by midfielders Jeff Hopson and Brandon Medina may be thrown right into the mix while the coaching staff finds the best options to supplement Calistri up top. Northwestern will figure it out as they always do. Coach Lenahan knows how to recruit for his system and some of the less heralded newcomers could step right in and make a pretty big impact as freshmen. With a likely wide open Big Ten race, the Wildcats have as good a shot as anybody to come home with a title.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Joey Calistri, Sophomore, F, 9
Assists: Grant Wilson, Junior, D/M, 7
Shots: Joey Calistri, Sophomore, F, 49
Saves: Tyler Miller, Junior, GK, 54

Madness 2014 MLS Draft Rankings:
#43 Tyler Miller

Madness 2013 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#141 Jeffrey Hopson


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