Feb. 9, 2013
Score: No. 1 Northwestern 18, Southern Cal 5
Site: Los Angeles, Calif. (L.A. Memorial Coliseum)
Records: Northwestern (2-0), Southern Cal (1-0)
Next NU Event: Friday, Feb. 22 at North Carolina 6 p.m. CT Chapel Hill, N.C.
LOS ANGELES -- In the first lacrosse game of any kind played in the 90-year history of the Los Angeles Coliseum, No. 1 Northwestern defeated Southern Cal Saturday, 18-5, in the Trojans' debut as a Division I program. A crowd of 2,890 fans turned out to see Northwestern rack up 47 shots on USC while junior Alyssa Leonard tied an NCAA single-game record with 15 draw controls.
"We were very excited to come to Los Angeles to be part of USC's first varsity game and support our friends on their coaching staff (former Wildcats All-Americans Lindsey Munday and Hilary Bowen)," said Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. "I thought it was a great atmosphere and a very memorable day for women's lacrosse in this area.
Leonard's 15 draw controls surpassed her previous career high of 10 and matched the NCAA mark set by Virginia Tech's Allie Emala against Boston College on March 14, 2009.
"Alyssa is one of the most talented draw specialists I've worked with and very driven to succeed," Amonte Hiller said. "We've seen in the past how critical her ability on the draw can be to our success and that's going to be true all season long."
Senior All-American Erin Fitzgerald netted a hat trick to lead a group of 11 Wildcats goal-scorers, with Leonard, Taylor Thornton, Kat DeRonda, Kara Mupo and Ali Cassera posting two goals apiece.
It was Thornton putting the Wildcats on the board for the second straight game, scoring off the 8-meter with three and a half minutes gone by in the contest. Fitzgerald made it back-to-back free positions just over a minute later, and unassisted goals by Cassera and Fitzgerald set the score at 4-0 11 minutes into the game.
The first goal in USC women's lacrosse history came courtesy of Amanda Johansen at the 17:44 mark of the first half, but the Wildcats countered by scoring the game's next five goals to gain a stranglehold on the game. Flibotte scored an 8-meter goal just 14 seconds after the Trojans' tally and Leonard created her own scoring opportunity less than a minute later to give NU a 6-1 lead.
Later in the period, freshman midfielder Kaleigh Craig notched her first career goal off the free position to put the Wildcats in front, 9-1, with 5:36 left before halftime. Goals by Leonard and Thornton provided NU a 11-2 lead heading into the locker rooms.
The Wildcats came out sharp in the second stanza, scoring twice in the first two minutes on goals by DeRonda and Fitzgerald to establish a 10-goal NU lead and a running clock for the rest of the afternoon.
Senior Beatrice Conley recorded her third assist of the weekend in finding Mupo at the 15:47 mark and, following an 8-meter goal by sophomore Brooks Lawler, accounted for the Wildcats' final goal of the day off a feed from Kelly Rich with 11:25 to play.
Freshman USC goalkeeper Liz Shaeffer withstood Northwestern's barrage of shots with 18 saves on the afternoon.
Northwestern's high-pressure defense was responsible for 15 caused turnovers and a 23-14 edge in ground balls for the Wildcats. Freshman Lauren Murray led NU with three ground balls in her second career outing.
The Wildcats are next in action on Friday, Feb. 22 when they travel to Chapel Hill for a key early-season meeting with fifth-ranked North Carolina.
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