Sept. 26, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 12 Northwestern opens up its Big Ten field hockey season Friday as it hosts No. 14 Iowa before squaring off against No. 19 Michigan on Sunday. Both matches are being played at Lakeside Field.
Friday's matchup is being televised live by Big Ten Network with Lisa Byington and Kara Lentz on the call. Sunday's contest can be heard on WNURSports.com.
Northwestern students have the opportunity to win a quarter's worth of free books at Friday's game. Free t-shirts will be given to the first 100 fans in attendance. Sunday is Windy City Field Hockey Day as members of the program are invited to participate in a postgame clinic and autograph session.
The Wildcats (8-2) are coming off a second-place Big Ten finish a year ago. Only a 3-2 overtime loss at Iowa in the regular-season finale stood in the way of NU earning a share of the conference title.
Northwestern split a pair of road games against top-10 foes last weekend. The Wildcats notched a 3-2 victory at No. 9 Duke last Friday with Caroline Troncelliti tallying the winning goal with 8:12 remaining. Tara Puffenberger and Nikki Parsley also collected goals for the 'Cats.
NU then played toe-to-toe with No. 4 Virginia on Sunday, but a late goal gave the Cavaliers a 2-1 victory and snapped the Wildcats' eight-game winning streak. Parsley scored her team-leading seventh goal of the season in defeat.
Dominique Masters was recognized as the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Tuesday. She assisted on the game-winning goal of the Wildcats' 3-2 victory at Duke. In the 63rd minute of play, Masters fed a pass on target to Troncelliti for the go-ahead score that Northwestern would not relinquish. Masters had five shots in the contest, including tying for a team high with three on goal, as the Wildcats won for the eighth straight game. She contributed two shots, including one on goal, in NU's narrow 2-1 loss at No. 4 Virginia on Sunday.
Masters ranks tied for second in the Big Ten with 43 shots so far this season to go along with six points.
Both NU and Maddy Carpenter rank first in the Big Ten with a 0.98 goals-against average. Carpenter led the conference with a 1.32 goals-against average a year ago. Northwestern's defense in front of Carpenter has allowed just 45 shots on goal through 10 contests. The Wildcats' back line is headed by sophomore Lisa McCarthy, sophomore Charlotte Martin, redshirt junior Kelsey Thompson and senior Julia Retzky.
The Hawkeyes (5-3) snapped a two-game losing streak with a 6-0 win at Kent State on Sunday. Sophomore Natalie Cafone was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after recording a hat trick in the contest, raising her team-leading goal total to seven. Kelsey Boyce sports a 1.12 goals-against average with a .757 save percentage. Iowa has out-scored its opponents 15-3 in the second half of its games this season.
The Wolverines take a 4-4 record into a home match against Missouri State on Friday prior to coming to Evanston. All four of the team's losses have come against ranked opponents, including a 2-0 defeat at No. 2 Maryland on Sunday. Rachel Mack leads all Big Ten players with nine goals, while no other Wolverine has scored more than two. Haley Jones has seen nearly all of the team's action in goal, sporting a 2.55 goals-against average with a .630 save percentage.
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