2004 Big Ten Conference Men's Soccer Tournament Previews

Nov. 10, 2004

#1 Indiana Hoosiers

Record: 14-3-1, 5-1 Big Ten

Head Coach: Michael Freitag

First Match: vs. Wisconsin/Michigan State, Friday, November 12, 2004 - 11:30 am ET


The Hoosiers begin their defense of last seasons Big Ten Conference and national titles, and will receive a bye in the first round after earning the top seed in this weekend's tournament because of its win over Ohio State. The Buckeyes and the Hoosiers were tied for first in the Big Ten regular season standings. Currently, Indiana is ranked fourth in the nation.


The strength of Indiana's team this season has been the defense. The Hoosiers are the only team in the conference to allow less than one goal a game on the average in 2004. In total, Indiana allowed only 11 goals on the season in 18 games played including eight shutouts on the year by goalie Jay Nolly.


Indiana's effort on offense has truly been a team effort in 2004. Sophomore forward Jacob Peterson is the only IU player in the top 10 in points in the league at 18. As a team, the Hoosier offense ranks fourth in the league statistically with 101 points on the season. Indiana certainly isn't shy about taking shots after leading the league in shots with 329, an average of over 18 per game.



#2 Ohio State Buckeyes

Record: 10-5-2, 5-1 Big Ten Conference

Head Coach: John Bleum

First Match: vs. Michigan, Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 2:30 pm ET


A 1-0 loss in Columbus to Indiana on October 24th turned out to be the deciding factor in determining the seeding for this year's post season tournament. As a result, OSU - ranked 24th in the country - has an opening round date with the host school Michigan on Thursday morning. In the schools regular season contest on November 6th the Buckeyes shut out the Wolverines, 2-0, in the regular season finale for both schools.


Senior forward Justin Cook powers the Ohio State offense. During the regular season, Cook was tied for second in the league in goals with 11 while totaling 27 points - good enough for third in the Big Ten. On defense, Ohio State is anchored by goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. During the regular season, Burse started 11 games, holding opponents scoreless in five of them. The junior ranked second in the Big Ten with a 0.74 goals-against-average. Both Cook and Burse Jr. were honored as Big Ten Players of the Week in the final week of the regular season.



#3 Northwestern Wildcats

Record: 11-4-2, 2-2-1 Big Ten Conference

Head Coach: Tom Lenahan

First Match: vs. Penn State, Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 11:45 am ET


A 2-1 win at Wisconsin gave the Wildcats the third seed in the tournament as opposed to a possible fifth or sixth seed. However, that also gives Northwestern perhaps the toughest road to a title, as NU has potential final and semifinal matches with Ohio State and Indiana respectively. The Wildcats could be up to the challenge though with a win at Indiana under their belts already.


Coach Tom Lenahan's team enters the tournament with the number one offense in the conferenced statistically. The Wildcats tallied 128 points and 40 goals on the season while averaging over two goals-per-game. All three totals were tops in the conference. Assists were another category dominated by NU which recorded 48 of them on the year.


Midfielder David Roth made his presence known throughout the Big Ten in his freshman season. Roth led the conference in assists with 11. Gerardo Alvarez proved to be one of the top goal scorers in the league with 11 on the year, and was second in the league with 29 points.



#4 Wisconsin Badgers

Record: 9-8, 2-3 Big Ten

Head Coach: Jeff Rohrman

First Match: vs. Michigan State, Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 9:00 am ET


A semifinal match versus Indiana awaits Wisconsin if it can get by a Spartan squad the Badgers beat on Halloween, 2-1. Senior Nick Van Sicklen enters the tourney as the top scorer in the league with 31 points and 12 goals, and will look to find the back of the net and help his team through a tough conference field.


In only 10 games in 2004, forward Jed Hohlbein tallied nine goals to lead the league in goals-per-game, including a goal in the season finale versus Northwestern. In goal, Eric Hanson rates as one of the top goalie in the league statistically. The senior has racked up 74 saves on the season while averaging 4.11 saves-per-game. Both totals lead the league.



#5 Michigan State Spartans

Record: 9-6-1, 2-4 Big Ten

Head Coach: Joe Baum

First Match: vs. Wisconsin, Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 9:00 am ET


Revenge will be on the mind of Spartans in their opening round game versus Wisconsin. Had MSU been able to pull off a victory, a third seed would have been possible and a rematch with a strong Badger team put off till the semifinals.


The Spartans enter the tournament with a strong offense that scored 33 goals this year, tying them for third in the Big Ten. Along with Northwestern, Michigan State was the only other team to average more than two goals-per-game during the 2004 campaign with 2.06. Additionally, the Spartans are one of the top defensive teams in the league, allowing only 20 goals on the season.


Individually, the Spartans feature two players ranked in the top five of the league in scoring and three in the top ten.  Senior forwards John Minagawa-Webster and Jordan Gruber are tied for fourth with 26 points while junior midfielder Ryan McMahen is tied for seventh in the conference standings at 18 points.  In goal, sophomore Jason Tillman stopped 46 shots in 16 games played this season.



#6 Penn State Nittany Lions

Record: 9-3-7, 1-3-2 Big Ten Conference

Head Coach: Barry Gorman

First Match: vs. Northwestern, Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 11:45 am ET


After tying Northwestern 2-2 on October 9th, Penn State will get to pick up at almost the same point with the Wildcats in the opening game of this years tournament. The match could be a shootout if the stats are any indication. Penn State was second to Northwestern in shots, points, and goals for the regular season.


The Nittany Lions' 113 points were good enough for second in the conference behind NU's 128, and Penn State's 36 goals trailed the Wildcats by four for tops in the conference. One area where Penn State trumps the Wildcats is in shutouts. Coach Barry Gorman's team tied for the lead league with eight, thanks to the play of goalkeeper Taylor Conrad. The freshman made 69 saves in 2004 while allowing only 23 shots past him in 20 games.


On offense, Chad Severs was the Nittany Lions only representative in the top ten of the league in points and goals. The senior forward tallied nine goals with 21 points, good enough to rank fifth and eight in the conference respectively.



#7 Michigan Wolverines

Record: 9-6-4, 1-4-1 Big Ten Conference

Head Coach: Steve Burns

First Match: vs. Ohio State, Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 2:30 pm ET


The school with the biggest advantage and disadvantage at this season's tournament is the host school, Michigan.  The Wolverines may have the toughest first round opponent in second seeded Ohio State to contend with, however, they also get to play their matches in front of a home crowd and on familiar ground.


A 2-0 loss in the regular season finale to the Buckeyes set up the first round match between the two rivals on Thursday morning. Michigan boasts one of the leagues top defenses, allowing only 20 goals in 19 games this season. Junior net minder Peter Dzubay notched four shutouts this year while making 48 saves. On offense, forward Mychal Turpin enters his final Big Ten tournament with a team leading six goal and 17 points. The senior was also ranked in the top ten in the conference with 45 shots for a U-M squad which took 252 on the season to rank third in the league.