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    Moment No. 14: 'Cats Topple Ranked Rival

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    The 2012-13 season was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUSports.com as we revisit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 14
    Date Jan. 17, 2013
    Location Assembly Hall | Champaign, Ill.
    Original Story Wildcats Lead Throughout in 68-54 Win at No. 23/22 Illinois
    Video Video Highlights
    Photos Photo Gallery
    Social Media @NUMensBball   |  Northwestern Men's Basketball
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Assembly Hall in Champaign hasn't always been kind to the Northwestern men's basketball team, but the Wildcats made two in a row over their instate rivals on their home court when NU led from the start en route to a convincing 68-54 victory on Jan. 17.

    Illinois Game Highlights
    At 1-3 in Big Ten play and coming off a rough home loss to Iowa four days earlier, not much was expected of Northwestern as it was set to take on the nation's 23rd-ranked team, a squad that had already notched wins over Butler, Gonzaga and Ohio State.

    However, the Wildcats stormed out to a 10-3 lead and never trailed in the contest. Illinois closed to within 15-11, but a 13-3 run pushed the advantage to 14 with just over five minutes left in the opening half. The advantage would grow to as many as 17 in the opening stanza before Northwestern eventually took a 36-21 lead at the break.

    NU connected on five of its seven 3-point attempts over the opening 20 minutes of play to key the charge. Illinois closed to within 10 early in the second half, but the Wildcats had an answer every time the hosts attempted to make a charge.

    The Illini was still within striking distance at 50-41 with three minutes to go when Jared Swopshire sealed the deal with a driving three-point play. Reggie Hearn led the way for NU, scoring 20 points for the second-consecutive year in a win at Assembly Hall. In all, five Wildcats scored in double figures with the team connecting on 26 of 31 attempts from the free throw line.

    Moment No. 15: Swimming Records Fall

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    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones that the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we revisit our top 20 moments!

    Moment No. 15
    Date Feb. 21, 2013 and March 30, 2013
    Locations Minneapolis, Minn. | Indianapolis, Ind.
    Reynolds Recap Reynolds Shatters NU 50 Free Mark, Qualifies Second Overall For Finals
    Wilimovsky Recap Wilimovsky Breaks School Record Again at NCAA Meet
    Social Media @NUSwim   |  @NUSwimDive
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Two long-standing individual Northwestern school records fell in 2013, one each on the men's and women's side, and together they form our No. 15 moment of 2012-13 for Northwestern Athletics.

    First, senior women's sprinter Taylor Reynolds exploded for a 22.14 in the 50 freestyle during the preliminary heats of the 2013 Big Ten Championships to lower the previous Northwestern mark of 22.26 set by All-American Andrea Hupman in 2008. Reynolds would be seeded second overall for the finals of the event behind eventual champion Ivy Martin of Wisconsin.

    The 22.14 time for Reynolds qualified her for the 2013 NCAA Championships field and was part of a strong Big Ten Championships that also saw her pick up an All-Big Ten honor with a second-place result in the 100 freestyle.

    On the men's side, freshman Jordan Wilimovsky entered the NCAA Championships having already broken the school's record in the mile during the Big Ten Championships. His 15:03.07 at the conference meet punched his ticket to the NCAA field and took down a school mark that had not been touched in nearly a decade.

    Wilimovsky then went out and lowered it again on the final day of the NCAA meet, becoming the first Wildcat in program history to swim a sub 15:00.00 mile when he touched the wall in 14:58.80. "Jordan had a great swim today," head coach Jarod Schroeder said at the time. "Last year it only took 15:00.00 to score at the meet so we were hoping it would have been enough. His effort was still a great step forward."

    Wilimovsky went on to qualify for the United State National Team for the 2013 FINA World Championships in the 25K open water event with fourth-place finishes in both the 5K and 10K swims at the USA Swimming national championships meet.

    Moment No. 16: Roser Beats the Buzzer at Iowa

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    The 2012-13 season was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUSports.com as we revisit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 16
    Date Feb. 3, 2013
    Location Carver-Hawkeye Arena | Iowa City, Iowa
    Original Story Roser Beats Buzzer in NU's 67-65 Win Over No. 24/25 Iowa
    Video Video Highlights
    Social Media @nuwbball   |  Northwestern Women's Basketball
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Every second counted in Northwestern's game against the nationally-ranked Hawkeyes in Iowa City on Feb. 3, 2013. Despite trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half, NU stormed back and led by two at 65-63 with less than a minute to play.

    Roser Beats the Buzzer at Iowa

    Iowa then made things interesting as Melissa Dixon's jumper knotted things up at 65-65 with just three seconds showing but the Wildcats were determined to end the game in regulation. With the clock winding down, NU sophomore point guard Karly Roser used her speed and vision to go coast-to-coast and sink her game-winning layup as the horn sounded to give Northwestern the 67-65 win and the program's first victory in Iowa City since 1995.

    "It was a great college basketball game," Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown said. "We were fortunate enough to make one more play at the end. ... It's good for us to keep our poise, being down, and be able to come back and just be able to make some plays at the end. ... I think Karly Roser played with a lot of poise in the second half. In the second half I think she had complete control of our team."

    At the end of the 2012-13 season, Roser was one of four Wildcats, along with seniors Kendall Hackney and Dannielle Diamant and freshman Maggie Lyon, honored with All-Big Ten accolades. Lyon had a stellar first season at Northwestern as she became the first Wildcat to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year accolades.

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones that the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we revisit our top 20 moments!

    Moment No. 17
    Date March 29, 2013
    Location Sharon J. Drysdale Field | Evanston, Ill.
    Original Story Amy Letourneau No-Hits Minnesota in NU Home Opener
    Video Video Highlights
    Social Media @NUSBCats   |  Northwestern Softball
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Northwestern sophomore ace Amy Letourneau harnessed the nasty stuff she had been dealing all season long in Northwestern's 2013 home opener March 29 against Minnesota, throwing the 45th no-hitter in Wildcats' history in a 6-2 win over the Gophers -- the first no-no of her career and the first of two she would throw in the space of one week.

    Watch Game Highlights

    Letourneau at times struggled to control her filthy repertoire, allowing 11 total base runners in the game on nine walks and two hit batsmen. She did allow two runs (only one earned) in the third inning, but recovered to hold Minnesota at bay the remainder of the game while racking up 11 strikeouts for her ninth double-digit K game of the season.

    The no-no was the first of Letourneau's career and the 45th in school history. It was the first since current junior Sammy Albanese no-hit Saint Mary's (Calif.) on March 22, 2011, in a five-inning contest and it was NU's first full seven-inning no-hitter since Lauren Delaney performed the feat against Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 12, 2010.

    Northwestern took the early lead in the game courtesy of second-inning RBI singles from Olivia Duehr and Kristin Scharkey. Minnesota would tie the contest in the third before NU did the rest of the scoring with three runs in the third and another in the fourth to cement the victory.

    Just one week later in the Friday opening game of a home series against Illinois, Letourneau again threw a no-hitter, this time fanning eight and walking the same in an 8-0 (5) victory. Letourneau is the ninth pitcher in Northwestern history to toss multiple no-hitters in her career.

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones that the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we revisit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 18
    Date Nov. 16, 2012
    Location Welsh-Ryan Arena | Evanston, Ill.
    Original Story Relentless Wildcats Topple Michigan in Thrilling Fashion, 3-1
    Video Michigan Match Highlights
    More Video Stephanie Holthus Highlights
    Social Media @NUVBall   |  Northwestern Volleyball
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    In need of a win to snap a four-match skid and keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive, Northwestern hosted the Michigan Wolverines, a team receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Friday, Nov. 16. The Wildcats rose to the challenge and responded by turning back U-M, which came to town with its own five-match winning streak, in thrilling fashion.

    The 'Cats fell behind, 18-12, in the first set before ripping off a 9-3 rally to knot the score at 21 points apiece. The Wolverines eventually captured that first frame, 25-22, but that was the last time they would be victorious on this special evening. Northwestern stormed back to claim a pair of two-point wins in both the second and third sets before putting Michigan down for good with an emphatic 25-18 triumph in the fourth.

    Stephanie Holthus turned in not only the best individual performance of the season, but arguably the top effort of her storied career to this point. The Burlington, Ill., native buried a career-high 28 kills and added 19 digs, four blocks and a pair of assists. She tallied 32 points in the four-set triumph and attacked at a clip of .404 during the match. Holthus was named Co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Nov. 19 in recognition of her superior effort.

    Yewande Akanbi was also in double figures offensively for Northwestern with 12 kills. Middle blockers Savannah Paffen and Katie Dutchman sent back a match-high six blocks apiece, while setter Madalyn Shalter added 46 assists and 17 digs in victory. Northwestern's back row received outstanding efforts from Julie Chin, Abbie Kraus and Monica McGreal who tallied 17, 11 and eight digs, respectively.

    Northwestern fell just short of its goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament. After dropping another 3-1 decision the following evening at Illinois, Michigan reeled off six wins in a row as they made their way to the national semifinals in Louisville where they lost to Texas in five. The Longhorns would then go on to defeat Oregon to win the 2012 national championship.

    Michigan Match Highlights

    Holthus' powerful performance against the Wolverines was one of many outstanding performances that she turned in for the Wildcats during her third season in Evanston. The outside hitter was named All-Big Ten and All-Mideast Region by the aforementioned AVCA. On Dec. 12, Holthus was named to the All-America Team. She recorded 487 kills in 2012, which tied her for fifth all-time in a single season at NU. Holthus notched at least 20 kills 10 times and currently ranks 10th on the school's all-time list with 1,294 terminations. She is the fourth student-athlete in program history to receive All-America recognition.

    "[Holthus] is a great example of what it means to be a student-athlete at Northwestern," said NU head coach Keylor Chan. "She has put a great deal of time and effort to improve her volleyball every year and is consistently committed to success."

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUSports.com as we re-isit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 19
    Date March 6, 2013
    Location Lakeside Field | Evanston, Ill.
    Original Story NU Upends Boston College, Amonte Hiller Hits 200 Wins
    Social Media @NULax   |  Northwestern Women's Lacrosse
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13
    Previous Moments Moment No. 20

    For the second straight day to open Northwestern's countdown of the Top 20 Moments of the 2012-13 athletic year, the Wildcats are celebrating a milestone reached by one of its 19 head coaches -- and one that came in some pretty unusual circumstances.

    Watch Game Highlights
    As the two-time defending NCAA champion Northwestern women's lacrosse team prepared to open its 2013 home season, one of the fiercest snowstorms of the winter bore down on Evanston and dumped more than seven inches of snow on Lakeside Field, just 24 hours before the Wildcats were to take the field against Boston College. But thanks to a round-the-clock snow-clearing effort by the Northwestern facilities staff, the game went on as scheduled and ended in a 17-10 Wildcats win that represented the 200th victory in the legendary coaching career of Kelly Amonte Hiller.

    After the game, Amonte Hiller was asked if it was fitting that her milestone win came with a four-foot high pile of snow ringing Lakeside Field, with temperatures that had fallen below freezing shortly after opening draw.

    "That's why I love this place," Amonte Hiller said with a smile. "You have to be tough to play here. You have to be strong, mentally and physically."

    The five-time national coach of the year and seven-time NCAA champion coach needed only 231 games to reach the 200-career victory plateau, and by season's end had run her career record to 215-33 for a winning percentage of .867 -- best among active coaches and second all-time in Division I women's lacrosse.

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Today, we begin with Moment No. 20, which features the Northwestern women's soccer team. Be sure to follow along at NUSports.com as we re-visit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 20
    Date Oct. 27, 2012
    Location DeMartin Soccer Complex | East Lansing, Mich.
    Original Story NU Blanks MSU in 2012 Finale, Moynihan Secures 200th Career Win
    Social Media @CatsWSoccer   |  Northwestern Women's Soccer
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Northwestern head women's soccer coach Michael Moynihan ended his first season with the Wildcats with a significant milestone. All it took was one goal, but Niki Sebo's score in the 19th minute during the 2012 season finale at Michigan State gave head coach Michael Moynihan his 200th career victory. The MSU victory also was a milestone for assistant coach David Nikolic, who has coached alongside Moynihan for 16 seasons.

    "It was a great win to end the season," Moynihan said following the Michigan State victory. "We ended the season with all of our seniors on the field and I thought it was a nice tribute to them and the leadership that they've shown and the progress that we've made this season; it all just kind of came together. I feel like we've come a long way and it's nice to get this little three game winning streak in the Big Ten to show something for our efforts. I thought getting another shutout on the road was fantastic. Our defense really stepped up as the season went on and got on the same page and we became more cohesive as a group. (Goalkeeper) Anna (Cassell) had a couple of really strong games here down the stretch. There are a lot of things to build on and again it was a great way to end the season and build towards the future."

    The Wildcats saw significant improvement during the 2012 campaign and ended the season with three-straight Big Ten victories, including a down-to-the-wire 2-1 win at Illinois, a 1-0 shutout against Iowa on Senior Day and the shutout victory against the Spartans. Moynihan and his staff guided the 'Cats to a five-win improvement from the 2011 season while facing a tough schedule that included eight games against squads that qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

    A Dodgeball Tournament Giving Hope (and Fun!)

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    By Katie Landgrebe - Northwestern Women's Soccer

    Katie Landgrebe is a sophomore on the Northwestern women's soccer team and the journalism major will give fans an inside look into the program with her blogs. The Northwestern women's soccer team is constantly giving back to the community and Katie's second entry details a great service event put on by the seniors from the 2012 women's soccer team.

    PHOTOS: 2013 Charity Dodgeball Tournament

     
    Colorful outfits, the sound of competition-crazed players, and balls whizzing through the air could only mean one thing: a dodgeball tournament, and more importantly, one put on by the women's soccer team. On a hot May day, more than 100 people packed into Patten Gym to participate in a tournament organized, run and inspired by our senior class. I can't begin to say how much Jess Rubin, Meredith Finsand and Bri Westlund have meant to me as teammates in the past two years, but in the past few weeks I've seen another, even better side of them. 
     
    They built this tournament from the ground up, and put a great cause at the center of it. The Lurie Children's Hospital is a place near and dear to NU women's soccer because of the incredible care they have given to our friend Hallie Munro, so it was only natural that the proceeds of this tournament would benefit their organization. With each team paying an entrance fee and many local businesses donating food for players, our seniors, and team, were able to raise $3,000 for a place that we know does good work for children with unimaginable circumstances; and all while having a great time!
     
    Observing the three dodgeball courts that lined Patten Gym was truly a sight to see, and many of us stuck around to watch and enjoy the fun atmosphere long after our refereeing shifts ended. Teams, many of which consisted of other NU student-athletes, sprinted to lines, performed trick plays and generally made the most of the chance to participate in a game outside of our normal practice schedules. Working alongside the seniors that had made all of this happen was an honor, and I couldn't help but smile at the thought of that money going to a place where daily, kids can have hope of a second chance because of the world-class care they receive.
     
    Something else that stuck with me was from an email Coach Moynihan sent to our team after some of us volunteered at Nettelhorst Elementary playing soccer and telling students about our experience as NU student-athletes. He pointed out that we were showing kids another avenue, one where you can excel at a sport and also love to do creative writing or use a talent you have to achieve something else, like being the first in your family to attend college. In a way, we were doing the same with the dodgeball tournament. Showing outsiders and ourselves that college athletes aren't just performers on the field and in the classroom, but also conscientious members of the community. In a packed gym filled with the sounds of our friends simply having a good time, our team, with the help of our senior class, learned that fun and service can collide in incredible ways.
     
    Coach Neely captured some great moments from the dodgeball tournament so make sure you check out the photo gallery. A big thanks to everyone who participated and helped to make the day memorable!

    Thoughts from Katie: Spring Lessons

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    By Katie Landgrebe - Northwestern Women's Soccer

    Katie Landgrebe is a sophomore on the Northwestern women's soccer team and the journalism major will give fans an inside look into the program with her blogs. Katie's first entry takes a look back at the Wildcats' spring soccer season that just wrapped up in early May.

    The end of spring season is always a little bittersweet. We're closing the book on some fun contests with regional rivals but also stepping into our offseason preparation for our main Big Ten season in the fall. I personally love those summer months, preparing my body to tackle preseason, setting goals for what we will accomplish in the fall and anticipating the memories we will make as we take the field on Chicago Friday nights. That said, spring season is a great time to put to work all of the things we focus on in the winter offseason and is always a time of growth for our team. This spring season was no exception.

    Our first weekend back from spring break we played two games against University of Wisconsin-Parkside and Valparaiso and brought home a win and a tie. It was an uncharacteristically warm Saturday in April and playing on Lakeside Field for the first time in six months was awesome. (And also reminded us why we work so hard on fitness in the fall; that 120x76 yard field can really take it out of you.) Against Loyola we played some of the best possession soccer that I've ever seen out of our team and picked up a tie. In a matchup with our Big Ten rival Wisconsin, we brought home a 1-0 win and generated many promising attacks, which has been the focus of much of our training in the past few months.

    The wins and ties this spring, understandably, make up many of the highlights of the past month. Despite that, I think that we collected some of our best learning in the losses we've had, displaying one of the reasons I believe spring season is so integral to collegiate programs: that because these games don't matter for conference wins and losses, we can try new things and work on our weaknesses in a highly competitive game environment without too much pressure. Our team did just that, learning against Marquette that our team organization against a great possession team needs to be better. We collected one of our hardest lessons late in the spring season against DePaul when we were out-worked and didn't compete with a full team effort.  

    The DePaul loss was a hard one to stomach and is still a fresh wound for many of us, but I think it presents one of the greatest opportunities for growth that our team has ever received. After the game we talked about how disappointing it is to have great trainings and see real progress, then not have it translate in a game situation. We talked about perseverance and focus, communication and attitude. Every team, at every level, works to put together a complete performance, harmonizing all of the technical and mental aspects of the game, each time they step on the field. Our team talked about how we need to expect that out of ourselves every single time we take the field too, that anything less is not an acceptable way to represent the Northwestern name or ourselves. Again, a bittersweet way to end the spring, but one that presents hope for even more growth in the months to come and holds a quiet current of expectation for how it will all come together in the fall.

    For me, a lot of things came together this spring season soccer-wise, and it ended up being one of the periods when I've most enjoyed playing at Northwestern. I learned about how important it is to identify areas of weakness in your play and then what it looks like to put in time and thought that is focused on combating those problems. I've begun to have this thought process that revolves around rejecting doing things half-heartedly and focuses on committing to things fully and doing them out of passion and love. My relationship with soccer has definitely not always been this way, and this spring was one of the first times in college that I have tackled things on the soccer field out of a genuine desire to fulfill what I've begun to see as a very worthy commitment in my life. Not that I've viewed soccer as some sort of side-job in the past year, but I've become much more aware that this is an opportunity I don't want to see pass by without knowing that I did all I could to get better at soccer, serve my teammates and have fun playing. Like most things, this way of thinking is a work in progress, imperfect and not always acted out, but it's been pretty transformative in how I approach playing soccer (and living life!).

    Wrapping Up the Experience of a Lifetime

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    Northwestern junior field hockey member Nikki Parsley wraps up her experience playing for the United States at the Four Nations Tournament in New Zealand.

     

    Since my last game in New Zealand, I have spent over 24 hours traveling, taken three flights, and slept only eight hours in the last two nights combined.  The good news is: I am finally home in Evanston.  

             

    But, before I said my final farewell to Kiwiland and since my last blog, we wrapped up the second Four Nations tournament.  During our seventh game of the trip we played Argentina again. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, which qualified us for the bronze medal game against Korea. Previously we had beaten them 2-1 and lost 4-1. 

     

    In my opinion, this was the most exciting game of the tournament for us. Not only did we end up winning 1-0, but we were finally able to execute the majority of our pregame plan. Throughout the eight games, we spent countless hours talking about adjustments we needed to make on and off the field in order to produce more wins. It was amazing to see all of the time spent watching film and studying our opponent's pay off, because hard work does not always guarantee success. However, throughout each game we made significant improvements, and by the end of the tour we finished better than we started.

     

    Over the last few days, I have had a lot of time to talk with others and privately reminisce on my first tour with the National team. I have determined that even if I had time to write a book, I could not properly articulate the uniqueness of my trip. This is most likely due to the wide array of emotions I felt on a daily, and sometimes hourly basis. I have never experienced so many highs and lows in such a short amount of time. Additionally, having the chance to turn one of my lifelong dreams (i.e. competing for my country) into reality is still a bit surreal.

     

    Much like other tours I have went on, it has been somewhat difficult to make the transition back into "regular" life. Even though I am unbelievably excited to be home and surrounded by my best friends and teammates again, I often find myself sidetracked by thoughts of the trip. Because this tour has the potential to greatly impact my future, it is easy to overanalyze the experience. Consequently, my current challenge is to put my blinders on and move full speed ahead, trusting that I left everything on the field in New Zealand.

     

    "I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." -Philippians 3: 12-14