March 3, 2011
Score: No. 2 Northwestern 18, Navy 8
Site: Annapolis, Md. (Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium)
Records: NU (4-0, 1-0 ALC); Navy (5-1, 0-0 Patriot)
Up Next: Saturday March, 5 vs. Georgetown Washington, D.C. Noon CT
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Coming off a convincing 17-6 win at American Lacrosse Conference rival Vanderbilt, Northwestern's offense kept firing on all cylinders Thursday night in an 18-8 victory over Navy. Leading 10-6 with 24 minutes to play, the `Cats used a decisive 8-0 scoring run over the next 13 minutes to put the game out of reach. Northwestern improves to 4-0 on the season heading into their Saturday showdown with Georgetown.
"I think we started off slow and got some momentum," said Coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, who won against her former coach, Cindy Timchal, for the second time. "There are definitely things we can improve on from today, but Navy played a great game. Cindy [Timchal] is doing an incredible job with them."
Ten Wildcats were in the scoring column for the second consecutive game, led by Junior Shannon Smith who notched a season-high six goals to go along with three assists. Sophomore Gabriella Flibotte added her first two career goals, while senior Brooke Matthews and freshman Kelly Rich each tacked on two more goals apiece.
The `Cats also got goals from junior Alex Frank, sophomores Erin Fitzgerald, Amanda Macaluso, Ali Cassera, and Taylor Thornton, before freshman Kara Mupo closed out the scoring with her third goal of the year.
Northwestern got on the board first when Shannon Smith
found a cutting Alex Frank
for a goal with barely two minutes gone off the clock. Erin Fitzgerald
scored just over a minute later when Brooke Matthews
forced a turnover and found Fitzgerald in front to give her a one-on-one opportunity with Navy goalie Elaina Ponchione, which the sophomore calmly converted.
Navy responded with a goal off a free position shot, yet the Wildcats had an immediate answer as Macaluso, Smith, and Rich reeled off three straight goals in under two minutes to give NU a 5-1 lead with 10 minutes gone in the first half.
The `Cats were dominating possession, but multiple point-blank stops from Ponchione gave the Midshipmen a chance to regroup. However, Smith answered two straight Navy goals with scores of her own, the second giving her a hat-trick and putting the Wildcats up 7-3 with 6:06 to play.
It looked like Northwestern was primed to run away with the game when Rich and Thornton scored within a minute of each other late in the half, but a Navy goal with three seconds on the clock gave the hosts life going into halftime down 9-4.
After Macaluso found Cassera off a backdoor cut towards the cage for a pretty goal two minutes into the second half, Navy quickly closed the deficit to 10-6, yet that was the closest they would get. Smith had the answer once again, putting in two goals in under a minute to jump-start the offense and open the floodgates. Flibotte's first career goal soon followed before Smith's sixth and final goal put NU up 14-6 with 18 minutes to play. Brooke Matthews converted a nice feed from Fitzgerald and a Free position shot in succession before Mupo rounded out the `Cats scoring off a feed from Flibotte.
Junior Brianne LoManto was solid in goal for Northwestern, posting five saves before senior Darby St. Clair-Barrie took over for the closing minutes.
Northwestern outshot the Midshipmen 44-17 and were unstoppable off the draw, controlling 21 to Navy's seven. Freshman Alyssa Leonard was the catalyst for this, recording 10 draw controls while taking the majority of the face-offs for the `Cats.
The Wildcats' five-game road trip to begin the season concludes Saturday as Northwestern head to Washington, D.C. to take on Georgetown. The contest will be the season-opener for the Hoyas.
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