Aug. 26, 2011
Site: Kent, Ohio (Murphy-Mellis Field)
Score: Northwestern 4, Kent State 0
Records: NU (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten), Kent State (0-1, 0-0 MAC)
Next NU Event: Sunday, Aug. 28 -- vs. Miami (Ohio), 11 a.m. CT
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KENT, Ohio -- Northwestern opened its 2011 season in impressive fashion on Friday, scoring its first goal merely two minutes in to the game against Kent State, en route to a 4-0 victory at Murphy-Mellis Field. For the second time in three years under head coach Tracey Fuchs, Northwestern won its season opener, this time taking one away from the 2010 Mid-American Conference Champions on their home turf.
Junior Chelsea Armstrong led the Wildcats' attack, earning herself a hat trick -- the fifth time in her career scoring three goals or more -- just 12:55 into the first half.
"Today was a great start to the year," Fuchs said. "You never quite know what to expect in the first game but Maddy Carpenter was great in the cage and Kelsey Thompson anchored the defense, you wouldn't think it was the first college game for both of them. Chelsea continued to lead us on offense so overall I'm happy with how we played."
After the two teams traded fouls to start the game, Armstrong zipped one in from 12 yards out for her first goal of the season at 2:03. Northwestern kept pressing and managed a few more shots on goal before junior Shannon Disbrow's shot was deflected in by Armstrong to give NU a 2-0 lead. Just over a minute later, Armstrong deflected yet another shot past Kent State's Jahna Jordan to complete the hat trick, placing incredible momentum in the 'Cats' favor.
With three goals and an assist on the day, Armstrong inches closer to becoming the Wildcats' all-time leader in points and goals scored. The native Australian moves into third place all-time in scoring (123) and fourth all-time in career goals (49).
Holding the early 3-0 advantage, NU controlled the pace of the game and was able to fend off a late first-half Kent State attack with some outstanding goaltending by freshman Maddy Carpenter, making the first collegiate start of her career.
The Golden Flashes tried to make a game of it in the second half, firing off nine shots, but Carpenter stood firm in the net, making three clutch saves in the half. Almost 30 scoreless minutes went by before Armstrong fired senior Regan Mooney's penalty corner to sophomore Nikki Parsley who deflected it in at the post, giving the Wildcats a 4-0 lead with seven minutes to play.
Carpenter, who finished her day with seven saves in the shutout victory, was able to relax late as Northwestern held off any attempt for a Kent State rally, allowing zero shots to close out the game.
Northwestern will remain in Ohio this weekend to face another familiar MAC opponent in Miami (Ohio) at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday. A live stream of the game can be seen here at MURedHawks.com .
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