May 24, 2013
Box Score |
Watch: North Carolina Game Highlights | Full Press Conference
2013 NCAA Championship -- Semifinals
Score: No. 3 North Carolina 11, No. 2 Northwestern 4
Site: Villanova, Pa. (Villanova Stadium)
Records: Northwestern (19-3, 4-1 ALC), North Carolina (17-3, 5-1 ACC)
Next NU Event: Season Complete
NCAA Championship Bracket: Interactive | Printable
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Another memorable Northwestern Women's Lacrosse season came to a close Friday in Philadelphia as the second-ranked Wildcats fell to No. 3 North Carolina, 11-4, in the NCAA Championship semifinals. Northwestern, which was appearing in the round of four for the ninth consecutive season, concludes the 2013 campaign with a 19-3 record and an American Lacrosse Conference championship under its belt.
The loss snapped a run of eight consecutive wins in national semifinal games dating to the 2005 season, while head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller's career mark in NCAA Tournament play moves to 34-3.
| North Carolina Web Highlights |
Northwestern's class of seven seniors departs the program after amassing a career record of 81-9, earning four straight trips to championship weekend and a pair of NCAA titles.
One of those seniors, Gabriella Flibotte, led the 'Cats Friday evening with her three caused turnovers, two ground balls and two draw controls. Flibotte in 2013 established a new Northwestern single-season record with 60 ground balls and also concluded her career ranked fourth in program history with 90 caused turnovers.
Flibotte's running mate in the midfield, Taylor Thornton, completed her incredible Northwestern career having started all 90 games the Wildcats played during her tenure, finishing up ranked No. 2 in program history with 178 ground balls, third with 101 caused turnovers and tied for sixth in draw controls with 198.
Looking to avenge an 11-8 regular-season loss to the Tar Heels, Northwestern applied good pressure early in the game only to see its first four shots -- including three free position attempts -- either miss wide of the cage or be saved by North Carolina goalkeeper Megan Ward. The Heels got on the board first with an 8-meter goal by Jessica Griffin, a score that was followed soon after by a goal out of the stick of North Carolina's Abbey Friend.
Playing relatively close to her hometown of Moorestown, N.J., sophomore goalkeeper Bridget Bianco stepped up early for Northwestern by going to her knees for a big save on Tewaaraton Award finalist Kara Cannizzaro. It was the first of three key first-half stops for the third-team All-America netminder and one of six in the game.
The Wildcats got on the board at the 16:27 mark of the first half -- ending its longest scoreless streak to start a game this season -- when senior Amanda Macaluso went to her left hand cutting across the fan to beat Ward for her 25th goal of the year.
The two teams struggled with some uncharacteristic turnovers and combined for 14 miscues in the first half, but North Carolina seized a 4-1 advantage off a free position goal by Friend with 2:45 showing on the clock. Northwestern was kept out of the cage late in the first half with two more missed free position opportunities and entered intermission facing a 4-1 deficit, matching its lowest offensive output for goals in a half this season.
The Wildcats appeared to strike first out of the locker room on a shot by Kat DeRonda, only to have the goal taken off the board and a yellow card issued to DeRonda for an illegal follow-through call. North Carolina capitalized on the ensuing extra-man opportunity as Friend scored her third of the day, completing a two-goal swing an leaving UNC in front, 5-1. It was one of four man-up goals the Tar Heels registered in the game.
The deficit would grow to 7-1 before Leonard broke a 25-plus minute scoreless drought for the Wildcats with 20:29 to play by wrapping the crease and beating Ward, cutting the NU deficit to five and giving the 'Cats life. After a yellow card was issued to the Tar Heels on their offensive end, Northwestern made it two in a row when DeRonda fed Kelly Rich off a free position restart, bringing Northwestern within four.
The Tar Heels halted NU's momentum, however, as Cannizzaro broke out for four consecutive goals in a span of only 4 minutes 44 second to bring North Carolina's lead to 11-3 with 11:35 remaining. DeRonda would earn one final goal on a dodge across the fan, but it was as close as Northwestern would come to the Tar Heels the rest of the way.
Northwestern previously was 4-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament games against the Tar Heels.
Senior Erin Fitzgerald, a two-time first-team All-American, also played in her final game as a Wildcat and ended her career with 216 points -- 10th-best all-time at NU -- and 190 goals, good for eighth in program history.
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