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    No. 1 Wildcats Primed for 2012 Home-Opener vs. Oregon Saturday

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Shannon Smith topped the 200-career goal plateau against Syracuse with her second straight five-goal game.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Shannon Smith topped the 200-career goal plateau against Syracuse with her second straight five-goal game.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    March 2, 2012

    No. 1 Northwestern (3-0) vs. Oregon (2-2, 1-0 MPSF)
    Saturday, March 3 • Noon CT
    Lakeside Field
    Evanston, Ill.
    Live Stream: Wildcats All-Access
    Online Radio: WNUR Stream
    Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
    Live Stats: NUsports.com

    Season Tickets Still Available! | 2012 Promotional Calendar

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Following three impressive wins against top-10 opponents to open the year, undefeated and top-ranked Northwestern (3-0) makes its 2012 home debut at Lakeside Field at noon Saturday vs. Oregon. The Wildcats are 9-1 all-time in home openers under Kelly Amonte Hiller and have compiled a 71-1 record at Lakeside Field since 2005.

     

     

    Fans are encouraged to get to their seats early to help celebrate Northwestern's 2011 NCAA championship victory, the program's sixth in the last seven years. The ceremony will include ring distribution, banner unveilings and a special musical performance. After the game, join the rest of the Wildcats faithful at Buffalo Wild Wings in downtown Evanston (1741 Maple Avenue) to watch Northwestern men's basketball in its regular-season finale at Iowa!

    2012 season tickets are still available while single-game tickets may be purchased at the gate for $7 (adults), $4 (18 and under) and $3 for groups of 15 or more. Parking at Lakeside Field is free for all Northwestern women's lacrosse home games.

    Northwestern On the Web
    Weather permitting, a live video stream of Saturday's home-opener at Lakeside Field will be available on Wildcats All-Access with a radio broadcast airing online at sports.wnur.org. Fans can also access live Twitter updates (@NU_SportsLIVE) and Gametracker.

    Scouting the Ducks:
    2012: 2-2 overall, 1-2 away, 1-0 MPSF
    Last Three Games: W vs. Cal (10-9); L at Towson (16-5); W at La Salle (10-6)
    Head Coach: Jen Larsen Beck (Virginia, '96); eighth season at Oregon (70-61)
    Key Players:Shannon Propst (So., M): 8g, 2a, 10 draw controls; Nikki Puszcz (So., M): 8g, 6 GBs; Jana Drummond (Sr., M): 3g, 4a, 11 draw controls
    In Goal: Carolina Federighi (So.): 30 saves, 36 goals against, 10.2 GAA, .455 save percentage

    Oregon opened its season with an East Coast road swing, falling narrowly in its opener by a 14-12 margin at Temple before bouncing back with a 10-6 victory at La Salle. After falling to Towson, Oregon returned home where it edged rival California, 10-9, on Sunday.

    Series Information:
    Northwestern dominated its only previous meeting with the Ducks, a 21-2 Wildcat victory on Feb. 26, 2005. That season marked Oregon's first year as a varsity program as well as NU's first national championship season when it finished 21-0. The Wildcats are 20-1 all-time against teams from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF).

    Last Time Out:
    After two games this season in which it never trailed on the scoreboard, No. 1 Northwestern responded to a four-goal deficit by staging a 7-0 run and seizing a late 9-6 lead on No. 9 Syracuse. But the Orange rallied to send the game to overtime, where the Wildcats received goals by Erin Fitzgerald and Shannon Smith to knock off the hosts, 11-9, Wednesday in the Carrier Dome. Smith paced the Wildcat attack with five goals while goalkeeper Brianne LoManto turned away nine Syracuse shots as NU defeated Syracuse for the ninth consecutive time.

    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 39 career games with at least three goals while Fitzgerald has turned the trick 15 times. Additionally, Smith enters the Oregon contest riding a 48-game points and goals streak dating to the first game of 2010, while Fitzgerald has scored a point 24 straight outings with a goal in the last 16.

    Beating the Best
    Northwestern has excelled in recent seasons despite playing one of the most rigorous schedules in the country, and 2012 is no different. Northwestern's run of three straight victories against teams ranked in the top 10 matches a feat it accomplished in last season's NCAA Tournament, defeating No. 7 Albany, No. 3 North Carolina and No. 1 Maryland to close the year. It was, however, the first time under Amonte Hiller that NU knocked off three straight top-10 teams in the regular season. Since NU's current senior class arrived on campus for the 2009 season, the 'Cats have played 53 games against ranked opponents (including postseason) and won 50 of them. That includes a 27-3 mark against opponents ranked in the top 10.

    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 a team-best four assists in the attack and scored her first career goal in the midst of NU's comeback at Syracuse. Bocklet's first-year classmate Brooks Lawler found her way into 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.

    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 150-7 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.

    Season Tickets Still Available!
    With the home-opener on Saturday, it's not too late to obtain your 2012 Northwestern Lacrosse season tickets! Full-season packages (10 games) can be purchased 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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