Nov. 3, 2009
2009 Big Ten Tournament Bracket
EVANSTON, Ill. — After completing one of the winningest seasons in recent program history, Northwestern looks to carry that momentum into the postseason when it travels to East Lansing, Mich., for the Big Ten Tournament this week. The sixth-seeded ’Cats (12-7) are set to play the second game of the tournament, a 2:30 p.m. CT matchup with third-seeded and 18th-ranked Indiana (12-5).
Northwestern fans wishing to stay up to date on the play-by-play action in Thursday’s game can do so by following the username @NU_sportsLIVE on Twitter. An opening-round victory over the Hoosiers would land NU in the tournament semifinals (1 p.m. Friday), which along with Sunday’s championship game are being broadcast live by the Big Ten Network.
A SEASONED VETERAN
Although this is her first season as head coach of the Wildcats, Tracey Fuchs has a long history of success at the Big Ten Tournament. As a 12-year associate head coach at Michigan, Fuchs helped guide the Wolverines to the conference championship and the automatic bid to the NCAA Championship on four occasions (1999, 2000, 2004, 2005).
Northwestern’s leading goal-scorer Chelsea Armstrong notched NU’s lone goal in a tough 2-1 loss Saturday to Ohio State, upping her season total to a Big Ten-best 22. She ranks 11th in the nation with 1.16 goals per game and sixth in NCAA field hockey with 2.95 points per contest. Meanwhile, seniors Courtney Plaster-Strange and Elizabeth Dobbs rank in ties for seventh and ninth, respectively, among the Big Ten’s top goal-scorers.
As a team, the ’Cats rank a close second in the Big Ten in goals per game with 3.34, just .07 behind top-seeded Michigan State’s conference-leading average of 3.41 per contest.
SCOUTING THE HOOSIERS
NU and Indiana last met on Oct. 17 in Bloomington when the Hoosiers were able to escape with a 2-1 win thanks to a second-half tally by Haley Funk. The Wildcats were also victimized in the first half by a goal by freshman Morgan Fleetwood, who has paced the Hoosier attack in her rookie season with 11 goals and six assists for 28 points.
On defense, Indiana (4-2 in the Big Ten) has posted the third-lowest goals against average in the league at 1.88 thanks to stellar play in the cage by goalkeeper Alex Mann. The IU junior is tied for fourth in the conference with 60 saves.
The last time these two teams faced off in the Big Ten Tournament was in 2005 when Indiana scored an overtime goal to defeat Northwestern 2-1 in Iowa City.