Nov. 1, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Northwestern is represented by three individuals on the All-Big Ten first team while another was named to the second team as selected by the conference's head coaches.
Chelsea Armstrong (Perth, Australia/Penrhos), Nikki Parsley (Milford, Del./Milford) and Tara Puffenberger (Dallas, Pa./Dallas) were all first-team selections, while Lisa McCarthy (Dublin, Ireland/Mount Anville) was named to the second team. McCarthy was also recognized as the league's Freshman of the Year.
Armstrong, a senior, earned her fourth-consecutive selection to the first team. She leads the nation with 29 goals and 65 points this season. Four times she was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week in 2012 and she leads the conference with nine game-winning goals. Armstrong became the ninth player in NCAA history to record 100 career goals with her fourth of the game in a victory over Missouri State Oct. 21. Her 29 goals are also a Northwestern single-season record. Despite the gaudy numbers, she was not named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for the third straight season. That honor went to Kelsey Amy of Penn State.
Parsley picked up her second-straight selection to the All-Big Ten first team. The junior missed five of the Wildcats' games early in the season while competing for the United States at the Junior Pan American Games in Mexico. As a midfielder, she has played a key role in Northwestern ranking second in the league with an average of 4.04 goals per game and first with a 1.21 goals-against average. Offensively, she has two goals and one assist to her credit this year.
Puffenberger has teamed with Armstrong to give the Wildcats a formidable one-two punch on the attack. In her first season at Northwestern, the junior ranks fourth in the league with 40 points and fifth with 15 goals. She has twice been named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. In a win over Ball State on Sept. 15, she tallied four goals and an assist and she had a first-half hat trick in a victory over Kent State on Oct. 7. Puffenberger also assisted on Armstrong's game-winning score 12 seconds into overtime in NU's 5-4 win against Penn State on Sept. 28.
McCarthy is the first Northwestern player to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. On the offensive end, she ranks second in the nation with 18 assists, largely in part because of her role as the inserter on penalty corners. She has also contributed three goals, all of which have come in victories over ranked teams: No. 9 Duke (9/9), No. 6 Penn State (9/28) and No. 15 Michigan (10/5). Defensively, she has been a vital cog in Northwestern's back that has limited foes to just 23 total goals in 19 matches for a 1.21 goals-against average that ranks seventh in the nation.
In addition, Wildcat senior Amanda Wirth (Pittsgrove, N.J./Schalick) has been honored as the team's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen to receive the honor are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
Northwestern (16-3, 4-2 Big Ten) is ranked No. 9 in this week's NFHCA poll and opens Big Ten tournament play at 1:30 p.m. Thursday as the second-seeded Wildcats take on seventh-seeded Indiana in Iowa City, Iowa.
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