March 6, 2012
No. 1 Northwestern (4-0, 0-0 ALC) at Louisville (1-2, 0-0 BIG EAST)
Wednesday, March 7 4 p.m. CT
U of L Lacrosse Stadium
Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Live Stats: Gametracker
Game Notes -- Northwestern at Louisville
Season Tickets Still Available! | 2012 Promotional Calendar
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Before settling in for four consecutive home games to close the month of March, No. 1 Northwestern ventures to the campus of Louisville for a 4 p.m. CT matchup with the Cardinals Wednesday afternoon. Louisville, a varsity program since 2008, is squaring off with Northwestern for the first time in the schools' histories.
Northwestern On the Web
In order to stay on top of the action as it happens, fans are encouraged to access live Twitter updates (@NU_SportsLIVE) and live stats via Gametracker.
Scouting the Cardinals:
2012: 1-2, 0-0 home, 0-0 BIG EAST
Last Three Games: L vs. Ohio State (21-7), W vs. Longwood (19-8), L vs. Old Dominion (14-12)
Head Coach: Kellie Young (Mount Holyoke '93); fifth season at Louisville (43-24)
Key Players: Nikki Boltja (So., M): 14g, 6 GB's, .636 shooting percentage; Hillary Bushway (So., A): 7g, 2a; Casey Pepperman (Fr., D): 2g, 1a, 11 draw controls
In Goal: Danielle Pawliw (Jr.): 24 saves, 41 goals against, 14.97 GAA
Wednesday's game represents Louisville's home-opener after a game with Denver scheduled for last Friday evening was canceled in the wake of dangerous thunderstorms and tornadoes that swept through Kentucky. The Cardinals opened their season with NU's fellow American Lacrosse Conference member Ohio State, falling to the Buckeyes 21-7 in Columbus. In their most recent outing, the Cards lost a 14-12 decision at Old Dominion despite sophomore Nikki Boltja's five goals on five shots.
Northwestern and Louisville are meeting in women's lacrosse for the first time.
Last Time Out:
Top-ranked Northwestern celebrated the occasion of its 2012 home-opener in style, outshooting visiting Oregon 35-7 en route to a 15-2 victory Saturday at Lakeside Field. Senior Jessica Russo led NU with four goals--one off her career high--while freshman Casey Bocklet notched two goals and two assists to tie Russo with a game-high four points. On a day that featured temperatures in the low 30's, Northwestern overcame a red-hot Oregon goalkeeper in the early stages and eventually saw 10 different Wildcats hit the back of the net. NU's two goals allowed marked the fewest by the 'Cats since holding Duquesne to one on March 12, 2010.
'Cats Stingy On `D' in Early Going
Northwestern's defense in 2012 is led by a stalwart crew of returners including goalkeeper Brianne LoManto, now in her third and final season as a starter. LoManto, who is 45-4 as a starter with 339 career saves boasts a paltry 5.38 goals against average this season and has yet to allow an opponent to crack 10 goals in a game.
In front of her on defense is last season's IWLCA Defender of the Year, Taylor Thornton, along with multi-year contributors Lacey Vigmostad and Christy Turner. Now in her senior season, Vigmostad turned in a stellar all-around effort against Oregon, collecting a career-best six ground balls while adding four caused turnovers and her fourth goal of the year.
Last year, the Wildcats ranked eighth in the nation with an 8.57 goals against average.
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 top-10 teams to open the year matches a feat it accomplished in last season's NCAA Tournament, defeating No. 7 Albany, No. 3 North Carolina and No. 1 Maryland en route to the title. 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.
Have You Noticed?
Northwestern has limited opponents to fewer than 10 goals in 10 of its last 11 games dating to last season, with the lone exception coming in its 11-10 victory over North Carolina in last year's NCAA semifinal contest. The last time a team scored more than 10 goals against the 'Cats was April 24, 2011, when Northwestern defeated Stanford, 12-11.
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!
Even with the home-opener in the rear-view mirror, 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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