Nov. 12, 2004
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - After all four matches of the 2004 Big Ten Conference Men's Soccer Tournament had been decided by one goal, the same was expected for Friday's (Nov. 12) second semifinal match between the third seed, Northwestern, and the seventh seed Michigan State. However, things don't always unfold as you would think and that was the case here, as the Wildcats defeated the Wolverines 5-0 to advance to Sunday's (Nov. 14) championship game.
The win is only Northwestern's fourth in Big Ten tournament history, including, Thursday's 1-0 overtime victory over Penn State. For the season, NU improves their record to 14-4-2 while the Maize and Blue end their season at 10-7-4. The Wildcats will now make their first appearance in the Big Ten title game in the schools history, while the host Wolverines had one championship game appearance under their belt. In 2002 Michigan lost to Penn State in the finale, 2-1, at University Park, Pennsylvania.
On October 24th, the two schools fought into overtime in Evanston with Northwestern pulling out a 2-1 win behind a game-winning goal from junior defender Brad Napper. Friday's semifinal game wasn't quite as dramatic as the Wildcats found the back of the net early and often for the blowout victory.
The Wildcats put a mark up on the scoreboard first. With 13:28 gone in the opening half, Northwestern freshman midfielder David Roth dribbled into the box and passed it off to forward Brad North. The sophomore beat Michigan goalie Peter Dzubay to get the first point of the afternoon and put NU up 1-0. The score was North's sixth of the season and the Wildcats first in regulation during the 2004 tournament.
Michigan appeared ready to tie up the game in the 29th minute. With the Wolverines deep in Northwestern territory, midfielder Michael Parke had an opportunity to get U-M on the board. The freshman took a shot at point-blank range with Wildcats goalie Justin Pines down on the ground and out of position. The sophomore was able to get up in enough time to stop Parke's shot as it left his foot and hold the lead for the Wildcats.
Both teams continued to battle back-and-forth throughout the remaining moments of the opening half. Michigan sent off 10 shots in the opening stanza while Northwestern rallied off six shots. Neither team was able to slip one past their opposing goalies though to send the teams into the locker rooms with NU holding a 1-0 advantage.
The scoreboard would change dramatically in the opening moments of the second half. Just 1:36 into the second half, sophomore forward Gerardo Alvarez found Brad North open on the right side of the net. North dribbled past a defender and beat Michigan net minder Dzubay one-on-one for his second goal of the game to give NU an insurance goal and a 2-0 lead.
But, good things come in threes and that's exactly what Northwestern had just a minute later. David Roth registered his third point of the match, his third goal of the season and the Wildcat's third goal, all in the third minute of the second half. Roth took the lose ball on the left side of the net and sent it across the goal into the right corner passed a diving Dzubay for the score. Northwestern now held a 3-0 edge in the semifinal bout with Roth recording his 12th goal of the season and second and third points of the match on the mark.
However, the Wildcats weren't content with a 3-0 cushion and increased their lead to 4-0 with 19:29 off the scoreboard in the second. Sophomore forward Eric Brin passed it off to Gerardo Alvarez who scored on a shot into the lower right of the net. The shot was similar to Roth's earlier in the half.
Roth would record his fourth point of the day with 6:49 remaining with an assist on a goal by junior midfielder Dave Vargas. The goal was Vargas's first of the 2004 season and put NU up 5-0, a score they would eventually go on to win by.
The five goals allowed by Michigan is the most given up by the Wolverines this season and is tied for the second most ever given up in a Big Ten tournament game
Both Northwestern and Michigan State will be in search of their tournament title in school history in Sunday's semifinal. The Wildcats and the Spartans kick the action off at 2:30 pm ET at Varsity Field on the campus of the University of Michigan. The match will be televised by CSTV on tape delay.