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    Northwestern Heads West Facing No. 15 Stanford, California

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Shannon Smith and the top-ranked Wildcats return to the West Coast for a pair of games this weekend.
    Shannon Smith and the top-ranked Wildcats return to the West Coast for a pair of games this weekend.

    Feb. 24, 2010

    Northwestern Lacrosse Weekly Release - Feb. 24 Get Acrobat Reader

    Opening Draw
    Northwestern returns to the west coast for a pair of games against Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponents. The Wildcats take on their first ranked foe of the year, meeting up with 15th-ranked Stanford in Palo Alto at 6 p.m. CT on Friday, Feb. 26. NU then heads up the bay to face California in Berkeley at 2 p.m. CT Sunday, Feb. 28.

    Scouting the Cardinal
    15th-ranked Stanford, the five-time reigning MPSF conference champion, is 1-1 on the year following a 16-9 victory over LeMoyne in its season opener and a 16-7 defeat to sixth-ranked Syracuse this past weekend. Junior Sarah Flynn has paced the Cardinal attack early, netting seven goals while senior Dana Lindsay has added four. Senior Lauren Schmidt and junior Leslie Foard each added three goals and a pair of assists for Stanford through the opening weekend. Junior goalkeeper Annie Read has been solid in net, recording 26 saves through the first two games, tallying a .510 save percentage and a 12.50 goals against average. Amy Bokker is in her first year at the helm of the Cardinal with a combined 95-103 (.480) record in her 14th season as a head coach.

    Scouting the Golden Bears
    California is 0-1 on the year after dropping a 12-10 decision to UC Davis in its season opener Saturday and will face Ohio State Friday prior to its game against the Wildcats. Senior Alyse Kennedy led the Golden Bears with five points (3G, 2A) while sophomore Allie Welsh added a hat trick in defeat. Sophomore Tara Arolla added a pair of goals and an assist with senior Alex Tickner recording three ground balls and a pair of draw controls. Junior goalkeeper Allie Shropshire recorded 10 saves against UC Davis for a .455 save percentage. Head coach Theresa Sherry is in her third season in Berkeley with a 17-21 (.447) career mark.

    Series Information
    Northwestern and Stanford meet for the sixth time Friday night with the Wildcats holding a 4-1 edge in the all-time series. The Cardinal won the first meeting between the two in 2003, but the Wildcats have won the last four, with the last meeting a 17-9 Northwestern victory in the first round of the 2006 NCAA tournament. Sunday marks the seventh meeting between Northwestern and California with the Wildcats winning the previous six games. NU took a 21-4 decision over the Golden Bears last season in Evanston and is 3-0 all-time in Berkeley.

    Wildcats Nab Top Spot in IWLCA Preseason Poll
    Northwestern begins the 2010 season right where it finished the last one -- atop the polls. The Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) has released its 2010 preseason ranking with the Wildcats occupying the top spot. Northwestern, which finished 23-0 in 2009 en route to its fifth-straight national championship, return 18 letterwinners and eight starters in 2010, including All-American attackers Katrina Dowd and Danielle Spencer. Maryland nabbed the second spot followed by Penn, North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Princeton and Virginia to round out the top 10. Of the remaining top nine, only the Terrapins and Tigers do not appear on NU's 2010 regular season schedule.

    Northwestern Tabbed American Lacrosse Conference Preseason Favorite
    Northwestern, the defending American Lacrosse Conference champion, is the preseason favorite to take home the ALC crown again in 2010 based on a poll of conference coaches. The Wildcats were a unanimous pick in the top spot after capturing the last five conference titles and sharing the crown in 2004. In addition, Northwestern placed four players on the preseason All-Conference team. Senior All-Americans Katrina Dowd and Danielle Spencer highlight the selections, with sophomores Alexandra Frank and Shannon Smith also earning preseason honors. The four Wildcat selections is the most of any school, followed by Vanderbilt's three honorees.

    Handful of Northwestern Streaks Remain Alive
    Northwestern enters the 2010 season boasting a handful of impressive streaks. The Wildcats have won 30-consecutive games, dating back to the 2008 regular season finale, which is the third-longest streak and the third 30-game winning streak in program history. Northwestern has won 29 consecutive American Lacrosse Conference games, while the Wildcats have notched 20-straight victories in the NCAA tournament. But perhaps the most impressive streak is the NCAA-record 54-game home winning streak, with Northwestern's last home loss coming in a 10-9 overtime defeat to Vanderbilt on May 6, 2004 (which was also the last time the Wildcats dropped a conference game).

    Wildcats Find New Home on Big Ten Network
    For the first time in its history, the Big Ten Network will feature a pair of Northwestern women's lacrosse matches. The network will air live the Wildcats' home games against North Carolina and Virginia, while the remaining six home games at Lakeside Field will be streamed live online either at or, along with the April 11 road game at Penn State. The online stream is a high-quality broadcast similar to what viewers would see on live programming and is $2.99 per game.

    For the complete weekly release, click the PDF link above.