Aug. 27, 2005
EVANSTON, Ill. -- For the first 60 minutes of Northwestern's season-opener against 2004 national semifinalist Maryland Saturday at the Leonard B. Thomas Sports Complex, the Wildcat defense and goalkeeper Sherri-Anne Nyberg (Kelowna, British Columbia/Kelowna Secondary) frustrated and stonewalled the Terps until a late penalty stroke goal shifted the momentum and gave Maryland a 5-2 win.
Northwestern came out strong, spoiling every Terrapin attempt at an attack before it could start, then put the first score on the board at the 4:00 mark.
Senior Holly Palin (Mequon, Wis./University School of Milwaukee) made a fantastic play to dribble the ball into the circle and fire a shot that Maryland goalkeeper Kathryn Masson just barely saved off the post. On the ensuing scramble, the Wildcats earned a penalty corner.
Junior Christina Foley (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Cape Elizabeth) hammered home the corner for her first career goal and a 1-0 Wildcats' lead on assists from sophomores Katie Charles (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) and Jenny Stancati (Toledo, Ohio/Ottawa Hills).
"I was very impressed with our start," NU head coach Kelly McCollum said. "One of our goals was to come out and control the beginning of the match and we did that and scored first."
Maryland would tie the score seven minutes later and eventually take the lead with 59 seconds to go in the half.
Trailing 2-1 at the start of the second, Northwestern again controlled the early play and caged the period's first goal. Junior Meghan Small (Bethlehem, Pa./Moravian Academy) took control of the ball near midfield and dribbled all the way into the circle and put the shot away to knot the game, 2-2.
For the majority of the rest of the half, Nyberg and the defense took over. Nyberg stoned the first 10 shots on goal she faced in the half, finishing with 14 saves for the game.
With nine minutes to go in regulation, the Terps were awarded a penalty stroke that Paula Infante scored to give Maryland a 3-2 advantage and steal the defensive momentum away from Northwestern. The Terps added two late goals to make the final score, 5-2.
"Maryland is a good team and our kids made it very tough on them today," McCollum said. "I am very proud of how we fought. We accomplished the things we were focusing on coming into today's match."
Despite firing just three shots on goal, Northwestern scored twice. Maryland's five goals came on 25 attempts. In addition to Nyberg's 14 saves, sophomore Amanda Care (Newtown, Pa./Pennsbury) added a defensive save with a second-half clear off the line on a penalty corner.
Northwestern returns to action at 11 a.m. CT, Sept. 3 at Fairfield.