Jan. 6, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Following her record-breaking 2011 campaign, Northwestern forward Chelsea Armstrong received numerous post-season accolades, most recently the prestigious honor of being named a finalist in the 2011-12 Honda Sports Award for Field Hockey. The Honda Sports Award is presented annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, and the 12 winners each become a finalist for the title of Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the Honda Cup.
Megan Frazer of the University of Maryland was named this year's recipient of the Honda Sports Award for Field Hockey, and other three finalists included Katelyn Falgowski from the University of North Carolina and Whitney Frates from the University of New Hampshire.
Armstrong enjoyed personal success during her junior season, breaking two long-standing NU records: career goals scored (71) and career points scored (173). Repeating as the Big Ten's Offensive Player of the year after finishing the season with 25 goals, seven assists and 57 points, Armstrong was named a first-team All-America honoree, was an NFHCA All-West Region selection and garnered first-team All-Big Ten honors for the third consecutive season.
As a team, Northwestern turned in an impressive 2011 season, in the form of upset wins and stellar performances. The season started out bright for the Wildcats, who downed each of their first two opponents on the road, 4-0, before returning home to grab a 2-1 victory over VCU to improve to 3-0.
After slipping in overtime against No. 17 Albany at Lakeside Field, Northwestern was charged with a steep challenge in the form of the Terrapin Invite in College Park, Md., facing No. 3 Maryland (the eventual 2011 national champions) and No. 8 American. The 'Cats fell to UM, but an impressive defensive performance - led by freshman goalkeeper Maddy Carpenter's six saves - lifted NU past the eighth-ranked Eagles, 2-1, giving Tracey Fuchs' team it's second upset of a top-10 team in as many seasons.
Momentum carried the 'Cats through the middle half of the season, with NU taking seven of the next eight games, including upset victories over No. 11 California, No. 18 Virginia and No. 7 New Hampshire - the third upset of a top-10 team in two years; the lone loss in that streak came at No. 18 Indiana. Following the run, Northwestern vaulted into the top-15, earning the No. 14 spot, the highest ranking since the 1996 season.
One of the premier conferences in the country, the Big Ten consistently proves to be a daunting challenge when conference play rolls around. A 3-0 win over Michigan State in East Lansing - Carpenter's second shutout of the season - looked promising for the 'Cats, but two tough-to-swallow overtime losses, a 4-3 loss at Penn State, and a 3-2 double-overtime loss at home against Michigan, put Northwestern in the passenger seat of the conference race.
NU won two of their last four games - all at Lakeside Field - by shutting out both Pacific, 5-0, and Louisville on Senior Day, 1-0, heading into the Big Ten Tournament. Northwestern ended its season with a 6-1 loss in the event to the hosts, Penn State, finishing with a 12-9 record. The 12 wins secured NU's third-straight winning season under Tracey Fuchs, with the senior class earning the most wins (42) since the 1995 seniors.
Armstrong created headlines for Northwestern in 2011, but the rest of the team, the vital supporting cast, gave Wildcat supporters plenty to cheer about:
Senior Regan Mooney led the Big Ten with 20 assists on the season, acting as NU's primary inserter on penalty corners. Her 0.95 assists per game ranked fourth-most in the nation. Mooney ranked third in the conference with 36 points, and was third on the team with eight goals and 37 shots. The second-team All-Big Ten honoree was invited to the 2011 NFHCA Senior Game, the first Wildcat to play in the game since Courtney Plaster-Strange in 2009.
Sophomore Nikki Parsley earned a first-team All-Big Ten bid, knocking in 10 goals on the season to go with an assist for 21 total points. At one point in the season, the Delaware native had a streak of six goals in five games.
Freshman goalkeeper Maddy Carpenter started all but one game for NU, compiling 80 saves (4.00 per game), fourth in the Big Ten. Her three shutouts on the season were good enough for second in the Big Ten. Carpenter earned both Big Ten Defensive and Freshman of the Week honors on two occasions (Aug. 30 and Sept. 20).
Senior Claire Thompson had a breakout campaign in 2011. She finished the season with career highs in goals (5), assists (1), points (11) and shots (18). Thompson, who started all 21 games, had two crucial goals in Northwestern's 5-4 upset over No. 7 New Hampshire.
Head coach Tracey Fuchs, an assistant coach for USA Field Hockey, helped the US in its stellar run in the Pan American Games. With its first ever Pan American gold medal, the US earned an automatic bid to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
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