DEKALB, Ill. - A golden goal from Chris Ritter enabled Northwestern (2-0-2) to earn a 2-1 men's soccer victory past Drake (1-4) in overtime on Friday (Sept. 7) at the Northern Illinois Invitational.
"Again the outcome was a little disheartening, but when you're playing a strong Big Ten team like Northwestern, you have to put away chances," Drake head coach Sean Holmes commented. "We realized when we graduated the players we did last year that we'd have days like this, back-to-back days like this, but the challenge now is for a young and less experienced team to step up and increase our scoring chances."
The Wildcats, who are receiving votes in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Top-25 national poll, cracked the scoring column first when Kyle Schickel connected on his second goal of the season at the 27:03 mark providing Northwestern a 1-0 advantage.
The lead held until senior Michael Thaden (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) delivered his initial goal of the year off a free kick in the 52nd minute (51:21) to square the tilt at one.
"Thaden's goal was world class," said Holmes. "But that now means that in four of the five games we have lost, we have yet to score a goal in the run of play."
The two sides battled back-and-forth in the final stanza with redshirt junior goalkeeper Rich Gallagher (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest Academy) making two second-half saves to push the affair in overtime.
The Wildcats registered three shots in the extra session en route to recording a 13-6 shot advantage in the affair. Thaden led the Bulldogs with a game-high three shots, while junior Addison Eck (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) added two shots for Drake. Three players collected three shots apiece for Northwestern.
"I have coached teams that couldn't make scoring opportunities, but this team can, and now we have to put them away," explained Holmes.
Gallagher pulled in four saves for the Bulldogs, all in second half and overtime, while Tyler Miller registered one save for Northwestern.
"Rich (Gallagher) made some big time saves and has proven himself to be quite exceptional in goal," Holmes commented.
Holmes complimented the effort of redshirt sophomore Jarred Arde (Gulfport, Miss./Gulfport) in reserve duty off the Bulldogs' bench against the Wildcats.
"Jared (Arde) came off the bench and proved he can be counted on for some serious playing minutes if he can sustain an effort like he did today."
Drake closes out tournament action at the NIU Invitational on Sunday (Sept. 9) against Northern Illinois at 2:00 p.m.
"Our goal now is to regroup and compete with Northern Illinois on Sunday," Holmes stated. "I think we have 80-90 percent of our team really fighting and if we can get to 100 percent then we will get the results we want."