NOTE: Wednesday's game will go on as scheduled despite Tuesday afternoon's snowfall in Evanston.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Chicagoland-area Northwestern fans have their first opportunity to see the 2013 edition of the Wildcats up close when NU hosts Boston College at 5 p.m. CT Wednesday at Lakeside Field. No. 4 Northwestern (3-1), which owns a record of 82-2 on its home turf since 2005, will be trying to secure the 200th victory in the head coaching career of Kelly Amonte Hiller.
Join Northwestern for a special pregame ceremony during which NU will unveil a new NCAA championship banner and celebrate the achievements of the 2012 national championship season, the seventh in eight years for the Wildcats. Additionally, season ticket holders will have the opportunity to pick up their exclusive gift, a commemorative Northwestern Lacrosse NCAA championship banner.
Season ticket packages are available for $49 (adult) and $29 (youth) and as a family plan for $99 (two adult, three youth tickets per game). Single-game tickets may be purchased at the gate for $7 (adult) and $4 (youth, senior citizens). Northwestern students are admitted for no charge with a valid WildCard.
On The Web
Wildcats fans unable to join the festivities at Lakeside Field can watch live for FREE online via NUsports.com or listen online to the WNUR radio broadcast (both linked above). Fans can also follow @NU_SportsLIVE on Twitter for live updates throughout both outings.
Milestone 200th Win Within Reach For Amonte Hiller
This week has the potential to be a notable one for Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, who stands one victory shy of 200 for her remarkable head coaching career (199-31). The five-time IWLCA National Coach of the Year, who averaged 18 wins per season through her first 11 years as head coach, leads all active coaches in career winning percentage (.865) and is ninth among active Division I head coaches in career wins. All eight coaches in front of her on the active list have been head coaches at the Division I level for at least 17 years, including her mentor and former coach at Maryland Cindy Timchal (416 career wins in 30 seasons).
Scouting the Eagles 2013 Season: 2-2 (0-0 ACC), NR 2012 Postseason: None Head Coach:Acacia Walker, 1st year (2-2) Key Players: Covie Stanwick (So., A): 14 goals, 20 points; Mikaela Rix (So., M): 10 goals, 11 draw controls, 8 ground balls; Kate McCarthy (Jr., M): 8 draw controls, 6 ground balls, 8 caused turnovers In the Cage: Emily Mata (So., GK): 20 saves, .312 save pct., 11.0 GAA Series History: Boston College leads, 4-2 (Last Meeting: NU 11, BC 8)
Northwestern and Boston College meet this week for only the second time since NU returned to varsity status in 2002, with the lone previous matchup coming in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. With the Eagles making their first-ever appearance in the national tournament, the Wildcats scored five of the game's first six goals and received a seven-point effort from eventual Tewaaraton Award winner Shannon Smith to advance to the second round.
After missing out on postseason play in 2012, this year's BC squad is looking for a fresh start under first-year head coach Acacia Walker, who took over the reins after serving as an Eagles associate head coach for two seasons. Walker began her coaching career as an assistant to Amonte Hiller, joining NU's staff in 2006 following her Maryland playing career and helping the Wildcats to the 2006, 2007 and 2008 NCAA championships. After being named head coach at Boston College, Walker recruited another former Wildcat to join her coaching staff -- 2012 graduate, three-time IWLCA All-American and captain of two NCAA championship-winning squads Alex Frank.
In splitting their first four games of 2013, BC's attack has been led by sophomore Covie Stanwick, the youngest of four Stanwick sisters to play Division I women's lacrosse. The 2012 All-ACC performer finished second on the team as a freshman with 55 points and already has 20 (14g, 6a) on the young season. She was joined on last year's All-ACC squad by classmate Mikaela Rix, who has filled the stat sheet in 2013 with 10 goals, 11 draw controls and 8 ground balls.
Finally, Wednesday's matchup also will serve as a battle for bragging rights in the Rich family, with NU junior Kelly Rich preparing to face off with younger sister Kate for the first time. The sisters, who have combined to score 10 points this season, hail from Westwood, Mass., and each wear jersey No. 14 for their respective clubs.
Northwestern Against the ACC
Northwestern has a long history of success against ACC opponents over the years, and has another opportunity to add to that Wednesday vs. BC. Since returning to varsity status in 2002, the Wildcats have played 41 games against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, posting a 32-9 record with a 15-1 mark in games played in Evanston. NU's loss on Feb. 22 at North Carolina snapped a streak of 10 straight wins against ACC teams and four in a row against the Tar Heels.
Leonard Off to Fast Start in 2013
As one of the key factors in NU's run to a seventh NCAA championship in 2012, Alyssa Leonard has wasted no time showing off her prowess in the draw circle at the outset of her junior campaign. Leonard has accumulated 37 draw controls in four games, including an NCAA single-game record-tying 15 against USC on Feb. 9. Leonard's big opening weekend -- which earned her American Lacrosse Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors -- vaulted her from seventh to second on NU's career draw controls list, where she now stands 50 behind Kristen Kjellman's school record of 268. Additionally, Leonard has moved into a tie for 11th all-time in Division I for career draw controls.
Thornton, Flibotte Patrol Midfield For Wildcats
Northwestern's win over ALC foe Vanderbilt served as a perfect example of how senior midfielders Taylor Thornton and Gabriella Flibotte are willing to do the little things to control a game for the Wildcats. Against the Commodores, the tandem combined for eight ground balls, nine draw controls and nine caused turnovers -- including a career-best five for Thornton, the reigning Honda Sports Award winner and ALC Player of the Year, and a career-high tying four for Flibotte.
D-eserving of Attention
With junior Christy Turner leading the way, Northwestern's low defense has been sharp through four games in 2013. Joining the veteran Turner is sophomore Haydyn Anigian, who played in just three games in 2012 and missed the first two contests this season before making her first career start at North Carolina. Less than two minutes into that game, Anigian showed off her speed when she went coast-to-coast, scoring a goal on her first career shot to put the Wildcats on the board against the Heels. Two days later, the NU defense put the clamps on Vanderbilt, allowing only three shots during the first 24 minutes of the second half as the `Cats went on a 7-0 run to put the game on ice.
Back to the Draw
A renewed emphasis on winning draw controls played an enormous role in NU's charge to the 2012 NCAA championship, and the Wildcats -- who returned their top three leaders in draw controls from a season ago -- are off to a fast start in the circle in 2013. Northwestern has won 69 of a possible 93 draw controls this year (74.2 percent); compare that to last season's year-end total of winning 56.2 percent of draw controls.
Before settling in at Lakeside Field for a four-game homestand, Northwestern ventures to the state of Maryland for a pair of challenging road matchups. First, Northwestern looks to improve to 2-0 in American Lacrosse Conference play Saturday against a Johns Hopkins squad riding high off a recent win over in-state rival Loyola (Md.). On Monday afternoon, two of the sport's coaching legends square off as Kelly Amonte Hiller faces her mentor and collegiate head coach when NU takes on Navy in Annapolis, in a game to be televised live by CBS Sports Network.