Feb. 27, 2012
No. 1 Northwestern (2-0, 0-0 ALC) at No. 9 Syracuse (1-1, 0-0 BIG EAST)
Wednesday, Feb. 29 6 p.m. CT
Carrier Dome FieldTurf 49,250
Television: Time Warner Cable Sports (Syracuse Local)
Live Stream: SUAthletics.com ($5.95 single-game subscription available)
Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Live Stats: SUAthletics.com
Season Tickets Still Available! | 2012 Promotional Calendar
Northwestern Weekly Release -- at Syracuse
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 1 Northwestern will try to make the most of February's extra day when it looks for a road win over No. 12 Syracuse Wednesday in the Carrier Dome. The game, set for a 6 p.m. CT opening draw, is NU's final road test before its 2012 home-opener on Saturday.
The game will be broadcast live in upstate New York on Time Warner Cable Sports and streamed live on SUAthletics.com for a single-game subscription fee. For those unable to see the game, live Twitter updates will be available by following the username @NU_SportsLIVE.
Scouting the Orange:
2012: 1-1 overall, 1-0 home, No. 9 IWLCA
Last Three Games: W vs. Boston College (23-12), L at No. 6 Virginia (9-7)
Head Coach: Gary Gait (Syracuse, '90); fifth year at Syracuse; 58-24 at Syracuse
Key Players: Alyssa Murray (So., A): 9g, 4a; Kailah Kempney (Fr., A): 7g, 1a, 13 draw controls; Michelle Tumolo (Jr., A): 3g, 3a
In Goal: Alyssa Constantino (So.): 8 sv, 11 GA;
Kelsey Richardson (Fr.): 10 sv, 10 GA
Despite getting a comparatively late start to the season, Syracuse looked sharp in its 2012 opener as it ran past No. 13 Boston College, 23-12, at the Carrier Dome. Leading the way was sophomore Alyssa Murray, who set a Syracuse single-game record with eight goals and also pitched in two assists. The Orange also received a stellar 10 draw controls by freshman Kailah Kempney. SU was slowed down in its first road test of the year, however, falling to No. 6 Virginia (9-7) Sunday in Charlottesville.
Gary Gait, now in his fifth year at the helm of the Orange, served as an assistant coach to NU's Kelly Amonte Hiller during Hiller's outstanding collegiate playing career at Maryland.
Northwestern has won its last eight meetings against Syracuse after the Orange claimed the first clash back in 2003. Last season's affair came in less-than-ideal weather conditions at Lakeside Field, but NU overcame the wind, snow and rain to defeat Syracuse, 16-11, behind six goals from Shannon Smith and a hat trick by Erin Fitzgerald. The 'Cats held a 6-1 lead less than nine minutes into the game and used nine Brianne LoManto saves and a 22-7 advantage on the draw to keep SU at bay.
Two years ago, the 'Cats and 'Cuse played to a thrilling 13-12 outcome in NU's favor at a local high school in Syracuse. NU is 2-1 all-time at the Carrier Dome, with its last win coming on March 24, 2008, when NU outscored Syracuse 14-3 in the second half en route to a 19-7 victory.
Northwestern features four upstate New York products on its current roster: junior Beatrice Conley (Brighton), sophomores Kat DeRonda (Carthage) and Caroline Gersuk (Loudonville) and freshman Mikaela Bozza (Brighton). Conley and Bozza each attended the same Rochester-area high school that produced former NU greats Danielle Spencer (2010) and Hilary Bowen (2009). The game is also a reunion of several former high school teammates: DeRonda starred at Carthage Central with the Orange's Kailah Kempney, while Tewaaraton Trophy winner Shannon Smith played alongside SU's Alyssa Murray at West Babylon on Long Island.
Last Time Out:
Battling the elements as well as a talented fifth-ranked Duke team, No. 1 Northwestern wore out its opponent in the second half on the way to a 13-5 victory on Feb. 19 at Koskinen Stadium in Durham. The Wildcats benefited from five goals by Shannon Smith -- including four in the first half -- and four more from Erin Fitzgerald in the win. Despite both teams tying with 10 draw control wins on the day, Northwestern won eight in the second half, allowing the Wildcats to outscore the Blue Devils 7-2 over the final 30 minutes. It was Northwestern's second victory over a top-10 opponent to start the year.
Lighting It Up
As Northwestern's two most prolific scorers for the last two seasons, senior Shannon Smith and junior Erin Fitzgerald have compiled some impressive numbers. Smith now has 38 career games with at least three goals while Fitzgerald has turned the trick 15 times. Additionally, Smith enters the Syracuse contest riding a 47-game points and goals streak dating to the first game of 2010, while Fitzgerald has scored a point 23 straight outings with a goal in the last 15.
Getting To Know You
Despite returning 10 starters from a national championship-winning team, head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller has found ways to incorporate several newcomers into her rotation. Freshman Casey Bocklet has used her playmaking abilities to record three assists in the attack, while her first-year classmate Brooks Lawler has been in the scoring column each of the first two games with one goal and one assist. Additionally, sophomore Kate Macdonald has earned a key reserve role in the midfield and has two goals to show for it, including a spinning dodge-and-fire at No. 5 Duke on Feb. 19.
Beating the Best
Northwestern has excelled in recent seasons despite playing one of the most rigorous schedules in the country. Since NU's current senior class arrived on campus for the 2009 season, the 'Cats have played 52 games against ranked opponents (including postseason) and won 49 of them. That includes a 26-3 mark against opponents ranked in the top 10.
Thinking Big Picture
Northwestern remains in the midst of one of the most remarkable runs in modern collegiate athletics having reached the national championship game in seven straight seasons, bringing home the title six times. Since the start of the 2005 season, the Wildcats are 149-7 in all games, including a 71-1 mark at home. Northwestern is 39-2 against ALC foes in that span and has not lost a home game to a conference opponent since May 6, 2004.
Home-Opener Saturday, Season Tickets Still Available!
On Saturday, top-ranked Northwestern makes its 2012 debut at Lakeside Field when it hosts Oregon at noon, with plenty of special events planned for the day. Among them are NU's formal recognition of the 2011 NCAA championship-winning Wildcats as well as a postgame autograph session. Season tickets are still on sale, with full-season packages (10 games) available for only $49 for adults, $29 for youth and $99 for a family plan (two adult, three youth season tickets). Buying a season ticket is also the only way to receive a FREE replica 2011 NCAA championship ring and an invite to a closed Wildcats practice! Call 1-888-GO-PURPLE or click here to order your tickets today.
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