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    'Cats Claw Past Commodores, 12-9, at ALC Tournament

    May 1, 2014

    Northwestern

    (11-5, 3-3 ALC)

    No. 5 Northwestern 12, Vanderbilt 9
    Lakeside Field • Evanston, Ill.

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    ALC Tournament Central

    (5-12, 2-4 ALC)

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Kara Mupo matched a career high with five goals and five other Wildcats scored as Northwestern knocked off Vanderbilt, 12-9, in the first round of the ALC Tournament at Lakeside Field. With the game tied 8-8 midway through the second half, the Wildcats scored four unanswered goals to control the game and secure the victory.

    Senior Alyssa Leonard controlled 10 draws on the afternoon, breaking her own Northwestern single-season record in the process by raising her 2014 total to 128. Leonard had previously set the NU mark with 125 as a junior in 2013.

    No. 3 seed Northwestern will now face second-seeded Ohio State at 7 p.m. CT Friday at Lakeside Field. With Thursday's win, the fifth-ranked Wildcats improve to 11-5 on the season and recorded their 14th consecutive win over the Commodores. NU is also now 14-1 all-time in the ALC Tournament.

    Both teams came out fast and furious on offense with five goals in the opening seven minutes. NU took the 3-1 lead with 23:36 left in the frame thanks to goals by Kelly Rich, Leonard and Mupo giving the Wildcats the two-goal advantage.

    Vanderbilt quickly made it a one-goal game, scoring about 20 seconds after Mupo's goal and then tied things up at 3-3 with Jill Doherty scoring her third goal of the game, giving her a hat trick with 18:23 left in the first. The Commodores then briefly took the lead at 4-3 off a goal by Kelly Chandler but Leonard did not let that lead last long as she scored her second less than a minute later.

    Northwestern then took the lead back thanks to a Vanderbilt turnover. Jess Carroll found a wide-open Mupo down field for the easy score to go ahead 5-4 and then Rich's second goal gave NU the 6-4 edge with 3:04 left in the frame.

    Doherty managed one more goal before halftime, scoring four of Vanderbilt's five first-half goals, but the Wildcats took the 6-5 lead into the break. Northwestern had the 19-11 advantage on shots, 14-7 lead on ground balls and 7-5 edge on draw controls. NU goalkeeper Bridget Bianco saved three shots in the first frame while Vanderbilt keeper Maddie Kratz made six saves.

    Northwestern took its largest lead of the game early in the second half at 8-5 as Kat DeRonda got on the board with 27:20 left to play. The Wildcats were unable to get comfortable though as Vanderbilt scored three-straight goals, another for Doherty and two from Amanda Lockwood, to tie things up for the fourth time at 8-8 with 13:13 remaining.

    It took nearly four minutes to break the tie and with 9:18 remaining, the Wildcats had a free position opportunity just outside the 8-meter. Christy Turner dished to Mupo and she slipped one past Kratz for her fourth goal of the game to give Northwestern the lead back for good.

    Just 10 seconds later, Turner was part of another scoring play as the Wildcats won the draw and she stormed down the field for her first goal of the game. Mupo then matched her career high with her fifth goal, giving NU the 11-8 lead and Kate Macdonald made it a 12-8 game, capitalizing on a wide-open Vanderbilt net, with 3:37 to play.

    The Commodores tacked on one final goal but the Wildcats hung on for the 12-9 victory to advance to the semifinals of the ALC Tournament Friday at Lakeside Field.

    Mupo and Doherty each had a game-high five goals while Rich finished with two goals and two assists. Leonard also added two goals while DeRonda, Macdonald and Turner each had goals. Sophomore Spring Sanders earned a spot in the starting lineup and posted career-best totals of three ground balls and two draw controls.

    Bianco made six saves in net while Kratz stopped nine.

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