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    Puffenberger's Goal Gives NU 2-1 OT Win over Cal

    Tara Puffenberger's third goal of the season was the game-winner.

    Tara Puffenberger's third goal of the season was the game-winner.

    Sept. 13, 2013

    California #12 Northwestern 2, California 1 (OT)
    Lakeside Field • Evanston, Ill. • Attendance: 87

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    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Tara Puffenberger's goal with 5:12 remaining in the first overtime session gave No. 12 Northwestern a hard-fought 2-1 victory over California Friday afternoon at Lakeside Field.

    "Cal has has become quite a rival for us," Northwestern head coach Tracey Fuchs said. "We beat them in the last minute last year and they're a tough team. I thought we battled the whole game today. Their goalie played outstanding otherwise we probably would have put a few more on the board."

    The Wildcats dominated the game statistically, but the Golden Bears and goalkeeper Courtney Hendrickson in particular prevented the hosts from not only pulling away, but getting on the board in the first place.

    Over the opening half of play, NU posted advantages of 10-4 in shots and 7-1 in penalty corners but was unable to dent the scoreboard where it matters the most as Hendrickson stopped eight shots prior to the break.

    A year ago, Northwestern notched a 1-0 win at Cal thanks to Chelsea Armstrong's goal with 42 seconds remaining and that's the direction that Friday's match appeared headed.

    However, the 'Cats managed to break through with just over 11 minutes remaining as Kristin Wirtz had a blocked shot come to her on the doorstep and she knocked it home for her second goal of the season, giving the hosts the lead.

    It appeared as through the tally would be the difference even though the Golden Bears pushed forward in their attack in the closing minutes in search of the equalizer. Cal managed only three penalty corners in the contest, but one of them came as regulation expired.

    By rule, even through time has expired, the corner is to be played out and the guests stunned NU as Lara Kruggel knocked home the tying goal to force overtime.

    Forced to regroup for the golden-goal extra session, the Wildcats nearly lost the match in the opening minute of the period as Cal was awarded a penalty stroke. Kruggel lined up against Maddy Carpenter to try to give the Golden Bears the win, but the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week was up to the task, making the save and forcing the match to continue.

    As the clock approached five minutes left in the first overtime, Northwestern broke out on a counter attack and Caroline Troncelliti possessed the ball into the circle where she fed it for Puffenberger. Hendrickson came out of her cage to contest the play, but Puffenberger dove for the ball and poked it home for the game-winning score.

    "I'm proud of the way our team came back after giving up a goal in the last second," said Fuchs. "Maddy was spectacular today, otherwise we may not have pulled it out."

    NU finished the contest with advantages of 22-10 in shots and 11-3 in penalty corners. Carpenter made five saves to earn the victory, while Hendrickson made 12 saves for Cal.

    Northwestern returns to action at noon Sunday as it hosts Ohio at Lakeside Field.


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