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Dallas Soccer News - Northwestern soccer, Big Ten soccer, Will Briley, Drew Ratner, Tim Lenahan, Carl Pett, Shane Barrow, DFW Tejanos

Two former 86 Boys anchor Northwestern defense

Published 6/20/2007 12:45:11 AM by staff from Dallas
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Two former Dallas Classic League 86 Boys are keys to Northwestern University's newfound soccer success.  Will Briley of coach Shane Barrow's DFW Tejanos 86 and Drew Ratner of Kevin Smith's Solar 86 are playing big roles in Northwestern's rise on the national scene.  The Wildcats are coming off the most successful season in their history. An Elite Eight appearance highlighted a season that saw the Wildcats receive a No. 8 final ranking in the NSCAA poll, the highest of any Big Ten team.

Northwestern ended the spring with a 4-1-2 record with wins over Northern Illinois, Lewis, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Chicago.

"Our primary goals this spring were to begin to establish ourselves as an elite program in that players may come and go, but playing quality soccer will remain a constant at Northwestern," head coach Tim Lenahan said. "We have graduated 20 seniors over the last two years, which I am sure is more than any other program in the country. In spite of that, we don't see ourselves in a rebuilding mode but rather a team trying to continue the upward trend of the last few years."

Newcomer Piero Bellizzi, who just entered Northwestern in January, led all Wildcat scorers with four goals in the spring. Dave Roth, who was named to the 2006 Soccer America Men's College MVP team--the equivalent of a first-team All-America honor, chipped in with one goal and three assists and seniors Drew Ratner and goalkeeper Will Briley anchored a stingy defense that allowed just 0.7 goals per game in the spring. Overall the Wildcats scored 11 goals while allowing just four.

After a 0-0 draw with UWGB in the opening match, the Wildcats dominated play vs. NCAA participant Northern Illinois. Witt and Carl Pett scored for Northwestern. A weekend trip to Romeoville ended with Roth and Tyler Voigt each scoring a goal in a 2-0 win over Lewis.  After a setback vs. Creighton, the Wildcats battled to a 1-1 at Bradley. This past weekend saw Northwestern bounce back with a 1-0 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a 4-0 win over the University of Chicago with Belizzi (3 goals) and Chris Kammo (2 goals) scoring all the goals on the day.

"Other than defensively in the first half against Creighton, where we arguably played our best soccer, we had a very consistent spring." Lenahan added. "One of the things we have been cognizant of is that the goal scoring load needs to be shared by the team. With the graduation of two of the all time leading scorers in Northwestern history in Brad North and Gerardo Alvarez, it was promising to see seven different players score goals. One nice thing as well, is that this is the last spring where will have to play all our games on the road with our new state of the art complex due to be completed this fall."

"All in all, this group was a pleasure to coach. They worked very hard and really enjoyed each other throughout the spring. I think with the addition of a very solid recruiting class that we will enter next season with great promise. "

3/31 Northwestern 0 UWGB 0  
  Northwestern 2 NIU 0 (Witt, Pett)
4/14 Northwestern 2 Lewis 0 (Roth, Voigt)
4/21 Northwestern 1 Creighton 3 (Valenta)
4/22 Northwestern 1 Bradley 1 (Bellizzi)
4/29 Northwestern 1 UWM 0 (Bellizzi)
  Northwestern 4 U of Chicago 0 (Bellizzi 2, Kammo 2)

Label: Northwestern soccer, Big Ten soccer, Will Briley, Drew Ratner, Tim Lenahan, Carl Pett, Shane Barrow, DFW Tejanos
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