2007 Big Ten Men's Soccer Championship Preview

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Nov. 6, 2007

The 2007 Big Ten Men's Soccer Championship begins Thursday, Nov. 8 on the campus of Michigan State University at Old College Field in East Lansing, Mich. The winner of the Big Ten Championship will be awarded the automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.

Indiana earned the No. 1 seed after going 4-0-2 in conference action this season solidifying sole possession of the regular season title with a 0-0 tie over Wisconsin in the final weekend of conference play. Chay Cain recorded his ninth overall shutout of the season against the Badgers which ties him for first in the conference.  Cain also tops the Big Ten with a .947 save percentage.  Indiana received a first-round bye and will face the winner of game three on Friday, Nov. 9 at 1:30 p.m.          

Ohio State closed out its regular season with a 4-1-1 conference record and enters the Championship as the No. 2 seed. 2006 first team All-Big Ten forward Xavier Balc leads the conference in assists with 12 and ranks second in overall points with 20 (4 goals, 12 assists). Goalkeeper Casey Latchem  spearheads a Buckeye defense that has shut out four conference opponents. OSU will face seventh-seeded Michigan in game two on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

Climbing two spots from last year is No. 3 seed Northwestern which finished its regular season with a 3-2-1 conference mark. The Wildcats recorded a conference-high 10 goals throughout conference play,  while only allowing 0.59 goals per game overall this season which is the lowest average in the Big Ten.              

Claiming the fourth seed for the second straight year is Penn State.  The Nittany Lions finished the conference season at 2-2-2 and will be pitted against fifth-seeded Michigan State which ended the year at 2-3-1 in conference play.  This contest will feature the Big Ten leaders in points per game with PSU's Jason Yeisley (1.33 in 12 games) and MSU's Doug DeMartin (1.22 in 18 games).  Both squads also boast two of the conference's best goalkeepers in Conrad Taylor (PSU) and Chris Austin (MSU), each of whom have 64 total saves tying them for third-best in the Big Ten.                    

Ending the season with a record of 0-3-3 in conference, sixth-seeded Wisconsin looks to rebound from a first-round loss in last year's Championship.  The Badgers tout the conference's second leading goal scorer in Victor Diaz.  Sophomore Alex Horwath posted seven shutouts to tie for fourth in the Big Ten.               

No. 7 seed Michigan hopes to relive its 2006 championship first round with another upset.  The Wolverines had a conference record of 0-4-2 this season.  Senior goalie Patrick Sperry owns the conference's second best tally in saves and saves per game with 27 and 3.50, respectively.