Jan. 28, 2012
Site: Orlando, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
Score: Northwestern 9, Team England 3 (exhibition)
Next NU Event: Sunday, Jan. 29 vs. Team USA (exhibition) -- 10 a.m. CT, Orlando Fla.
Watch: ESPN3.com (live), ESPNU (tape delay, 9 p.m. CT)
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Defending national champion Northwestern passed its first 2012 preseason test Saturday when it defeated Team England, 9-3, at the U.S. Lacrosse Champion Challenge in Orlando, Fla. Sophomore Kelly Rich paced the Wildcats with three goals, all of which were set up by freshman attack Casey Bocklet, who added a goal to finish with five points.
"It's the beginning of the season, we need to tighten things up offensively and defensively, and get some minutes for kids who don't have a lot of experience," said head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller
. "Kelly Rich
is just a great playmaker and a smart player on the field who finds ways to get open all the time and she did a great job of that today."
After Team England rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to tie the score at three, Northwestern kept the opponents scoreless over the final 40 minutes and ended the game on a 6-0 run. Northwestern held a 9-4 edge in draw controls for the game and scooped up 17 ground balls compared to England's 12.
England opened the scoring on its first possession, but the Wildcats responded four minutes into the game when freshman Brooks Lawler put away an 8-meter try that evened the score.
Northwestern took its first lead just over 10 minutes into the game when Rich finished a pass on the crease from freshman Casey Bocklet, and the lead grew to 3-1 at the eight-minute mark on a running shot and score by Erin Fitzgerald.
England won back-to-back draws and scored on both possessions to tie the score at three only to have NU go back on top when Fitzgerald converted the second of two straight 8-meter attempts. With the first-half clock winding down five minutes later, Bocklet went to work on the crease, spinning and scoring as the buzzer sounded to put the Wildcats ahead, 5-3, at the break.
Northwestern extended its lead to three with nearly 10 minutes gone by in the second half when Rich found the back of the net for the second time, this time off a feed from Bocklet. Junior Amanda Macaluso tallied an unassisted goal minutes later and the Wildcats were comfortably in front, 7-3.
Controlling possession down the stretch, Northwestern added to its lead when Rich notched her fourth of the afternoon and rounded out the scoring on a goal by senior Alex Frank with 1:44 left on the clock.
Starting in the cage for NU was senior Brianne LoManto, who set the tone early with two straight saves -- the first coming on a free position shot attempt -- and finished with three on the game. LoManto was relieved four minutes into the second half by freshman Bridget Bianco, who stopped three England shots in her first collegiate appearance.
On Sunday, Northwestern will return to action at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex when it faces Team USA at 10 a.m. CT. The game will stream live on ESPN3.com and be replayed in its entirety on at 9 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
"It's always fun to play against kids from our program and kids we coached against but know really well," Amonte Hiller said. "The USA Team is the best of the best and just to have an opportunity to step on the same field as them is a great opportunity."
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