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    'Cats to Face Team England, Team USA in 2013 Tune-Up

    All-American Erin Fitzgerald enters her senior season needing 49 points to join NU's 200-point club for her career.

    All-American Erin Fitzgerald enters her senior season needing 49 points to join NU's 200-point club for her career.

    Jan. 23, 2013

    2013 Champion Challenge
    Northwestern vs. Team England
    Saturday, Jan. 26 • 2:30 p.m. CT
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex • Kissimmee, Fla.
    Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE

    Northwestern vs. Team USA
    Sunday, Jan. 27 • 10 a.m. CT
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex • Kissimmee, Fla.
    Watch: (live), ESPNU (tape delay)
    (Sunday, Jan. 27, 11 p.m. CT; Monday, Jan. 28, 1:30 p.m. CT)
    Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE

    BUY Northwestern Lacrosse Season Tickets! | 2013 Northwestern Lacrosse Online Viewbook

    Northwestern Lacrosse Game Notes -- Champion Challenge Get Acrobat Reader | Champion Challenge Home Page



    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Five-time National Coach of the Year Kelly Amonte Hiller embarks on her 12th season at the helm of Northwestern Lacrosse this weekend when she brings her defending champion Wildcats to Orlando for the preseason Champion Challenge, hosted by U.S. Lacrosse. NU, winners of seven NCAA championships in eight years, will face the national teams of England and the United States on Jan. 26 and 27, respectively, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

    Northwestern fans can get their first glimpse of the 2013 Wildcats by tuning into NU's matchup with a star-studded Team USA squad at 10 a.m. CT Sunday. The game will be streamed live online on the WatchESPN website and also will twice air on tape delay on ESPNU (see times above).

    The Wildcats also competed in the Champion Challenge in January, 2012, defeating Team England, 9-3, before falling to Team USA by a score of 16-6. Current NU seniors Amanda Macaluso and Erin Fitzgerald led the Wildcats offensively in that game, netting two goals apiece.

    Watch the 'Cats Preview the Florida Trip

    2013 Season Tickets On Sale Now!
    Northwestern Lacrosse invites fans to be part of NU's drive for an eighth national championship in the last nine years by securing season tickets for the 2013 campaign, now available for purchase online or by calling the NU Athletics Ticket Office at 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775). Season ticket packages offer fans savings of 15 percent off gameday ticket prices and also provide several benefits exclusive to NU Lacrosse season ticket holders, including a commemorative NCAA championship banner.

    Former 'Cats Shine for Stars and Stripes
    Northwestern will once again be well represented when the U.S. Women's Lacrosse Senior National Team takes the field at the Champion Challenge this weekend. Four former 'Cats feature prominently in the plans of national team head coach Ricky Fried, most notably team captain Lindsey Munday('06). The following is a glance at the former NU standouts who are poised to represent the U.S. at the FIL World Cup in Oshawa, Ont., this July.

    Player At Northwestern
    Sarah Albrecht ('06), M 199 points, 2X AA
    Katrina Dowd ('10), A 219 goals, 2X AA
    Lindsey Munday ('06), A 268 points, 2X AA
    Shannon Smith ('12), A 254 goals, 3X AA

    Orlando Native Christy Turner Heads Home
    Lacrosse is unquestionably a burgeoning sport in the state of Florida, but Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller has already tapped the Sunshine State for its talent in the sport. When NU heads to the Champion Challenge this weekend, junior defender Christy Turner will be returning to her hometown of Orlando, where she starred for Timber Creek and was a two-time high school All-American. Turner moved into a key role in NU's low defense as a sophomore in 2012, starting all 23 games and recording 22 ground balls, 17 caused turnovers and two goals on the year.

    On the Docket
    Ready to defend an NCAA championship for the seventh time in eight seasons, Kelly Amonte Hiller and Northwestern Lacrosse announced a 2013 schedule that features 10 matchups with NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, with seven home dates at Lakeside Field beginning March 6. Included in its list of home appearances is a March 30 rematch of last season's national title game against Syracuse, one of two games slated to appear live on the Big Ten Network (Ohio State on March 27 is the other).

    Geography Quiz
    Northwestern's 2013 roster of 37 players has a distinct New York flair to it, with nine Wildcats hailing from Long Island and a total of 15 with roots in the Empire State. Another six came to Northwestern from Kelly Amonte Hiller's home state of Massachusetts, while Texas is now the third-most represented state on the squad with four current players calling Texas home.

    2013 Northwestern Snapshot: Offense
    Despite losing the program's all-time leading goal-scorer, Shannon Smith, to graduation in 2012, Amonte Hiller and the Wildcats return plenty of firepower on the offensive end. NU welcomes back its second, third and fourth-leading goal-scorers from a year ago in the form of senior All-Americans Erin Fitzgerald (56 goals in 2012) and Taylor Thornton (33) along with junior Kara Mupo (33). The 'Cats did lose two players who together accounted for 50 of their 94 assists a year ago, likely opening the door for senior Beatrice Conley and junior Kat DeRonda to assume larger roles as feeders and playmakers in 2013.

    2013 Northwestern Snapshot: Defense
    While Taylor Thornton became a consistent force on offense in her Honda Sports Award-winning junior season, she also maintained the level of defensive dominance that garnered her IWLCA Defender of the Year honors in 2011. She tied the NU single-season record with 58 ground balls last year and this season is poised to challenge NU's career records for ground balls, caused turnovers and draw controls.

    However, Amonte Hiller is tasked this season with replacing two tremendous defenders in Alex Frank and Lacey Vigmostad, who last year combined for 83 ground balls and 65 caused turnovers. The likely candidates to fill those voids are senior Gabriella Flibotte and junior Christy Turner, both returning starters who will be asked to lead NU's defensive effort. They'll once again be joined by faceguarding specialist Kerri Harrington, who keyed several NU victories a year ago with shut-down performances against the opponent's top scorer -- most notably in the NCAA championship game vs. Syracuse when Harrington held Tewaaraton finalist Michelle Tumolo to one goal, after Tumolo entered the contest averaging 4.3 points per game.

    New Face in the Cage
    Northwestern will have a new anchor to its defense this season following the graduation of three-year starting goalkeeper Brianne LoManto, who last year ranked in second in the country in goals against average (7.17). The Wildcats have a pair of sophomores battling for time in the cage in Bridget Bianco (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) and Brooke Jones (Edina, Minn./Edina), both of whom saw time coming off the bench in relief of LoManto during their rookie campaigns.

    Back to the Draw
    A renewed emphasis on winning draw controls played an enormous role in NU's charge to the 2012 NCAA championship. The 'Cats dominated possession by winning 52 of a possible 75 draw controls in their four tournament victories last year, including a 12-4 edge in the national championship game. It figures to be an area of strength for NU again in 2013, with the team returning its top three leaders in draw controls from a year ago. Draw specialist Alyssa Leonard recorded her second straight year with at least 90 draw wins and enters the year needing only 23 draws to move into sole possession of second place on NU's career draws list. Leonard will once again have the support on the circle from the dynamic duo of Taylor Thornton (71 draws in 2012) and Gabriella Flibotte (41).

    Download this weekend's game notes and information on the 2013 season in the PDF linked at the top of the page.


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