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    Balanced Effort Leads No. 1 Northwestern Past No. 14 Notre Dame, 15-5

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Brianne LoManto notched a career-best 11 saves while allowing just five goals against the irish.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Brianne LoManto notched a career-best 11 saves while allowing just five goals against the irish.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    March 30, 2010

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    WATCH: Game Highlights

    WATCH: LoManto and Spencer Talk About the Win (Wildcats All Access)

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Behind a solid offensive attack, led by seven points from senior Danielle Spencer (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton), and a stout defensive effort anchored by sophomore goalkeeper Brianne LoManto (Miller Place, N.Y./Rocky Point), top-ranked Northwestern rolled past 14th-ranked Notre Dame 15-5 at Lakeside Field. The victory is the 37th-straight for the Wildcats, setting a new program record.

    Spencer led all scorers with four goals and three assists, tying a career-best with the seven-point outing. Sophomore Shannon Smith (West Babylon, N.Y./West Babylon) added four goals and a pair of assists while freshman Erin Fitzgerald (Mt. Sinai, N.Y./Mt. Sinai) notched the first hat trick of her Northwestern career. Senior Katrina Dowd (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) and sophomores Alexandra Frank (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) and Jessica Russo (Port Jefferson, N.Y./St. Anthony's) each had a goal and an assist on the night with sophomore Lacey Vigmostad (Northport, N.Y./Northport) rounding out the scoring.

    Defensively, LoManto had arguably her best performance as a Wildcat, notching a career-best 11 saves against the Irish while allowing just five goals on the night. She anchored a stout Northwestern defense which forced 21 Notre Dame turnovers, led by senior Sara Harrington's (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) game-high three caused turnovers.

    Northwestern (8-0) controlled the game from virtually the opening draw, scoring the game's first six goals over a 20-minute span. Spencer and Smith each found the back of the net twice with Fitzgerald and Dowd adding to the Wildcat attack.

    After Notre Dame (5-3) got on the board, Northwestern would rattle off three-straight tallies off the sticks of Smith, Russo and Fitzgerald and it appeared the Wildcats would take a 9-1 lead into the break. But a shot from the Irish's Kate Newall found the back of the net with less than a second remaining in the opening half to cut the Northwestern advantage to seven at 9-2.

    Fitzgerald and Frank helped push the lead to 11-2 before a pair of Irish goals from Gina Scioscia cut the deficit to seven at 11-4 midway through the second half. But three unanswered goals by Spencer, Smith and Vigmostad put the game out of reach for good. Notre Dame and Northwestern exchanged goals one last time, giving the 'Cats the 15-5 victory.

    Northwestern held the edge in nearly every statistical category on a beautiful evening on the lakefront, outshooting Notre Dame 29-21 while holding a 13-8 edge in draw controls. Dowd won a game-high four draws with Spencer adding three of her own. Freshman Taylor Thornton (Dallas, Texas/Hockaday School) paced the Wildcats with four ground balls on the night while junior Colleen Magarity (Oreland, Pa./Germantown Academy) forced a pair of Irish turnovers.

    With the victory, Northwestern notches its 37th-consecutive victory, surpassing program's previous record of 36 set from Feb. 25, 2007 through April 27, 2008. The Wildcats extended their NCAA-record home winning streak to 57 games and improve to 9-2 all-time against the Irish.

    For those who weren't able to make it to Evanston for tonight's Northwestern victory, you will have a pair of opportunities to see the action for yourself. Tonight's game will be re-aired on the Big Ten Network on Wednesday, March 31, at 4 p.m. CT, then again at 11 a.m. CT on Thursday, April 1, which will be followed by the Network's emmy-nominated documentary on the Friends of Jaclyn.

    It's back on the road for the Wildcats who now head to Durham, N.C., for a showdown with fifth-ranked Duke this Saturday, April 3. The game against the Blue Devils marks this season's Friends of Jaclyn Brain Tumor Awareness Challenge, with proceeds from the game benefiting the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. Opening draw is set for 11 a.m. CT at Koskinen Stadium.