Nov. 16, 2006
St. Louis - Northwestern knocked off seventh-ranked Saint Louis 1-0 in a second round game of the 2006 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament this evening at Robert R. Hermann Stadium. The upset culminated a series of stunning results that saw all four top seeds in the SLU side of the bracket eliminated on their home fields.
"The game can be unkind, because I think everyone who was in the stadium this afternoon would say that we were the better team but that doesn't always give the necessary result," Billikens head coach Dan Donigan said. "But give Northwestern credit, because they got a great goal, and then they did what they had to do to get the win."
Each side had an early chance as Billikens keeper Ross Kaufman punched clear an 18-yard shot from Wildcats midfielder Carl Pett in the sixth minute, and Wildcats keeper Justin Pines had to be sharp in the 14th minute at the left post on Alex Matteson's 10-yard volley off John DiRaimondo's serve. After some persistent SLU pressure, Northwestern jumped on top in the 20th minute when junior midfielder David Roth drilled a 30-yard shot that banged off the bottom of the cross bar and dropped behind SLU's Kaufman.
"I thought that I was in good position, but the ball was really moving and it dipped," Kaufman said. "I got a hand on it, but not enough to tip it over the bar."
SLU senior forward Casey Spiess nearly tied the game two minutes later when Matteson's through ball put Spiess in on NU's Pines, but Pines was equal to the task. In the 27th minute, Pines dived to his left to thwart John DiRaimondo's 16-yard shot to the far post.
Other than the rare counter attack, Northwestern was content to defend in the second half. The Billikens consistently pressured and forced NU's Pines to make seven saves. Pines dived to the left post on Matteson's deflection off Calum Angus' cross in the 60th minute, and Spiess rolled a deflection just wide of the right post in the 88th minute.
"It was extremely frustrating, but my guys gave everything that they had," Donigan said. "I couldn't ask any more of them, and I wouldn't have changed anything. I think we have a great team that was capable of playing its way to the College Cup, so it is disappointing. We created plenty of chances, played attractive soccer but just couldn't put it in the back of the net."
Saint Louis out-shot the Wildcats 14-5 and had a 6-5 edge in corners. Kaufman made three saves. Matteson had a game-high five shots, while DiRaimondo finished with four.
Saint Louis finishes its season 13-5-2, while Northwestern improved to 13-7-0 and will host UNC-Greensboro in the third round on Sunday.
NORTHWESTERN 1, #7 SAINT LOUIS 0 NU 19:15 David Roth 30 yds off cross bar
Shots: SLU - 14, NU - 5 Corners: SLU - 6, NU - 5 Saves: SLU - 3 (Kaufman), NU - 7 (Pines) Fouls: SLU - 14, NU - 10 Offside: SLU - 1, NU - 2 Att: 1,079