Sept. 6, 2006
Evanston, Ill. -- Northwestern embarks on the most intense tour of the season this weekend when they take an East Coast swing through No. 11 Virginia, No. 12 American and top-ranked Maryland. The 'Cats battle the Cavaliers on Thursday at 5 p.m. (CT), before meeting the Eagles and Terps at noon (CT) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Last time out
Northwestern's stingy defense held Maine scoreless in the second half, propelling the 'Cats to a 4-3 victory at the Thomas Athletic Complex Sunday afternoon. Four different Wildcats contributed in the scoring column to provide a balanced offensive attack while the defense stepped up its intensity to pull out the win.
"I thought we did a good job shutting them down in the second half," head coach Kelly McCollum said. "We definitely used a team effort to create opportunities. We need to work on our command of the match from the start, but I feel we battled and that we are getting to a higher level of toughness."
Maine (3-2) got on the board first, scoring two goals in the first 12 minutes. But Northwestern did what has been preached to them all season: they responded. Junior Cassie Miller (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) answered less than two minutes later with her first goal of the season, which registered in the bottom right of the cage.
The Black Bears took one of their four first-half penalty corners and converted it at the 22:31 mark. Joanna Fernandez took the assist from Katie Flaherty and lifted the ball above NU goalkeeper Emily Kyle's (San Francisco, Calif./San Francisco H.S.) head for what proved to be Maine's last goal of the match.
NU (3-1) converted on a corner of its own with four minutes left in the first half. Junior Katie Charles (Worthington, Ohio/Worthington) delivered the ball to Amanda Care (Newtown, Pa./Newtown) who assisted Christina Foley (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Cape Elizabeth) for the goal. Foley's hit the shot in the lower right corner of the cage, pulling the 'Cats to within one goal before the half.
The Wildcat defense was the story in the second stanza, limiting Maine to just three shots in the scoreless half.
Sophomore Jill Putnam (Greenfield, Mass./Greenfield) opened the second half with a goal off a corner, tying the match at 3 apiece. It was Putnam's second goal this season.
Almost four minutes later, Annie Bosslet (Granite City, Ill./Villa Duchesne) gave the 'Cats the lead, picking up a deflected shot by Putnam. Boslett has now scored two times in as many games.
Through the first four matches, Northwestern has been led by a balanced offensive attack as four 'Cats have scored two goals each -- Jill Putnam, Christina Foley, Annie Bosslet and Alison Bullock. Foley and Putnam also have one assist, which brings their point total to five.
That balanced offensive attack has paid off, as Northwestern leads the conference in shots (25.5 per game), goals (12) and assists (10).
Putnam leads the Big Ten in shots with 5.25 per contest.
Northwestern has been awarded ten more penalty corners than its opponents and has also taken almost twice as many shots as its foes.
Sophomore Emily Kyle leads the conference in saves with 20. She is averaging five per contest.
For the second week in a row, the 'Cats are receiving votes in this week's NFHCA/STX poll.
Scouting the Cavaliers
Virginia moved up to No. 11 in this week's NFHCA poll after a tough 3-2 loss to No. 2 Old Dominion on Sunday. The Cavs opened the season upsetting Big Ten power Indiana, 3-2 and defeating Ohio University 3-1. They will meet Radford Wednesday before battling the 'Cats Thursday. Virginia leads the all-time series against NU, 5-2, though the Wildcats took last year's 4-3 double-overtime match. Traci Ragukas leads the team in goals (3) and points (6). Biffy Cornelison has two goals and one assist through three games.
Scouting the Eagles
Northwestern meets a hot American team on Saturday as the Eagles have won their last three matches against Radford (4-3, OT), Michigan State (6-1) and Rutgers (2-0). American started the season with two tough extra-session losses to California (4-3, 2OT), and Pacific (4-3, OT), respectively. Irene Schickhardt and Savannah Graybill lead the Eagles with five goals apiece. This will only be the second meeting between Northwestern and American. In 2004, he Eagles edged the 'Cats 3-1.
Scouting the Terrapins
Defending national champion Maryland is back on top this week's NFCA poll once again. The Terps are undefeated on the season, taking care of Old Dominion (1-0), California (5-0), Stanford (4-1) and Pacific (6-0). Paula Infante (four goals, two assists) and Janneke van Leeuwen (two goals, five assists) lead the charge offensively for Maryland. Netminder Kathryn Masson has allowed only one goal in four games and has only had to stop 14 shots all season because of the Terp's stingy defense. Maryland leads the all-time series against the 'Cats, 8-5.