May 8, 2010
Site: Columbus, Ohio (Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium)
Result: No. 2 Northwestern 23, No. 10 Vanderbilt 14
Records: Northwestern (17-1, 5-0 ALC), Vanderbilt (12-5, 4-1 ALC)
Next Up: NCAA First Round Saturday, May 15 1 p.m.
Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt Box Score
2010 Northwestern Lacrosse Statistics
Watch Game Highlights from the Big Ten Network!
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For the sixth-straight season, the American Lacrosse Conference trophy will reside in Evanston as second-ranked Northwestern took care of 10th-ranked Vanderbilt 23-14 in the ALC championship game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Sophomore Shannon Smith (West Babylon, N.Y./West Babylon) had a career-day for the 'Cats, netting seven goals and adding three assists.
Offense ruled the chilly afternoon in Columbus as Smith was one of four Wildcats to net at least three goals. Freshman Erin Fitzgerald (Mt. Sinai, N.Y./Mt. Sinai) tied a career-high with four goals, matching the total she put up the last time the 'Cats faced the Commodores. Senior Katrina Dowd (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) and freshman Ali Cassera (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex) each added a hat trick for Northwestern with Dowd adding an assist.
Four other Wildcats found the back of the net on the afternoon, including a pair from senior Danielle Spencer (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) to go along with a pair of assists and a game-high seven draws. Sophomore Alexandra Frank (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) had two goals and an assist with junior Brooke Matthews (Baltimore, Md./Friends School) and freshman Taylor Thornton (Dallas, Texas/Hockaday School) each notching a goal.
Dowd, the regular season ALC Player of the Year, was named the ALC Championship's Most Valuable Player after racking up nine goals and four assists on the weekend. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Smith, Spencer, Thornton and freshman Gabriella Flibotte (Cohasset, Mass./Groton School).
Northwestern set out early to erase any doubt as to whether or not it would continue its ALC domination as Fitzgerald and Frank put the Wildcats up 2-0 with only 25 seconds burned off the clock.
Vanderbilt would add a goal of its own a few minutes later, setting up a pattern that would continue for the majority of the opening half. The Wildcats would score a pair, followed by one from the Commodores. Leading 10-5, Northwestern finally broke that trend, rattling off five-straight to break the game open at 15-5 in the waning minutes of the opening half.
Leading 15-6 at halftime, Smith would fire her fifth of the game into the back of the net to push the lead back to 10 at 16-6. But Vanderbilt wasn't about to go down quietly, scoring four-straight goals to trim the Northwestern advantage to four at 10-6 with 23:35 remaining.
The Wildcats, however, were not going to be denied in their quest for a sixth-straight conference title. Northwestern would tally four of the next five, including a pair from Smith, to push the lead back to nine at 20-11. Three unanswered down the stretch slammed the door on a possible Vanderbilt comeback as the Wildcats extended their conference winning streak to 36 games, including an 8-0 record in the four ALC Championships. In all, nine different Wildcats recorded a point in the championship game with Matthews and freshman Amanda Macaluso (Smithtown, N.Y./Hauppauge) adding an assist.
It was an even game on the stat sheet as Northwestern held a 35-34 advantage in shots and a 21-18 edge in draw controls while Vanderbilt won the ground ball battle 18-14. The Commodores did have four more turnovers than the Wildcats, with three of them caused by Thornton and two from Flibotte. Sophomore goalkeeper Brianne LoManto (Miller Place, N.Y./Rocky Point) had 10 saves between the pipes for Northwestern.
For those who missed Northwestern's championship game victory, the Big Ten Network will re-air the title game at 9 p.m. CT tonight as part of it's "Student U" intiative.
Northwestern now begins its quest for a sixth-straight national championship as the NCAA tournament selections will be announced at 9 p.m. CT Sunday, May 9. The Wildcats look poised to capture one of the top seeds, and should they be selected to host a first round game, it will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 15, at Lakeside Field.
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