May 4, 2008
Box Score |
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern continued its dominance of the American Lacrosse Conference as the Wildcats shut down eighth-ranked Vanderbilt 14-3 to capture their sixth-straight ALC title. NU has now won 23 consecutive conference games, 42-straight at home and improves to 17-1 on the year.
Junior Hannah Nielsen (Adelaide, Australia/Brighton Secondary) once again led Northwestern with a pair of goals and tied a season-high with five assists. Midway through the second half, Nielsen fed sophomore Katrina Dowd (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) in the middle of the arc, who flipped a shot past Commodore (13-5) goalkeeper Brooke Shinaberry to give Nielsen her 129th career assist, breaking current assistant coach Lindsey Munday's all-time record of 128. She now has 131 for her career, including a team-high 53 this season.
Junior Hilary Bowen (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) also had a career day for the Wildcats, netting four goals to bring her season total to 64, breaking her previous season-best 61 set last season. It is the fifth-best single season goal performance in NU history, two behind fourth-place Kristen Kjellman's 66 goal output in 2007. Bowen extended her consecutive goal-scoring streak to 36 games, while she and Nielsen have registered at least one point in 40 straight games.
Northwestern set the tone early, as a pair of goals from Nielsen and sophomore Danielle Spencer (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) gave the Wildcats the early 4-1 lead just over ten minutes into the game. After Vanderbilt's Margie Curran answered to cut the lead to 4-2, NU responded with a three-straight of its own from Spencer, Bowen and junior Casey Donohoe (Jarrettsville, Md./Notre Dame Prep) to give itself a 7-2 cushion. The Commodores answered back with a goal of their own to trim the halftime lead to 7-3, but that would be the last time Vandy would light up the scoreboard.
Led by three goals from Bowen, the `Cats dominated the second half from the opening draw and outscored the Commodores 7-0 in the second thirty minutes. Dowd would add a pair of goals while juniors Meredith Frank (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) and Meghan Plunkett (Towson, Md./Maryvale Prep) helped keep the ALC trophy in Evanston. The second half shutout marks the fourth time this year Northwestern has kept an opponent scoreless through an entire half.
Once again, the Wildcat defense stepped up in big games, as senior defender Christy Finch (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) continued to be a thorn in the opposition's side. Finch caused four turnovers and scooped up five ground balls while holding Curran, Vanderbilt's leading scorer, to just a goal and an assist on the afternoon. Junior goalkeeper Morgan Lathrop (Briarcliff, N.Y./The Hackley School) made four saves to eclipse the century mark for the season (101) and improved her goals against average to 6.61.
Although the final statistics were fairly similar, Northwestern dominated in two key categories. The Wildcats outshot the Commodores 21-12 for the game, including a 10-3 advantage in the second half, and won the draw control battle 13-6. The victory marked the fifth-straight win for NU over Vandy.
Along with her ALC Player of the Year award, Nielsen was named the tournament's most valuable player. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Bowen, Finch, and senior Quinn Cammarota (Northport, N.Y./Northport).
Northwestern now waits to see where it will be seeded in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Pairings will be announced at 6 p.m. Monday, May 5. Should the Wildcats receive one of the top eight seeds as expected, they will host a first-round NCAA tournament game Sunday, May 11, at Lakeside Field.