EVANSTON, Ill. -- With little time to enjoy Wednesday's exciting home-opening win, fourth-ranked Northwestern heads back to the East Coast this weekend for a pair of formidable road tests. On Saturday, NU travels to No. 12 Johns Hopkins for a key American Lacrosse Conference tilt, before making the short trip on Monday to Navy, where Kelly Amonte Hiller will go up against her mentor and former college coach, Cindy Timchal.
On The Web
Northwestern fans have ample opportunity to watch the Wildcats in action this weekend, beginning at 11 a.m. CT Saturday with a live online stream of NU's battle with Johns Hopkins (linked above). On Monday (3 p.m. CT), CBS Sports Network will provide a live broadcast of the game to a national TV audience, with Ben Holden (play-by-play) and Sheehan Burch (color) on the call. Live in-game updates of both games also are available by following @NU_SportsLIVE on Twitter.
Amonte Hiller Achieves Milestone 200th Win
Northwestern did not allow a substantial snowstorm or a stern Boston College squad to prevent Kelly Amonte Hiller from securing her 200th win as head coach of the Wildcats Wednesday in Evanston (View game recap and highlights). With the win, Amonte Hiller joined a club of nine active coaches to reach that plateau -- two of whom she will stand opposite from on the sidelines this weekend and all of whom have at least 17 years as a Division I head coach under their belts. Now in her 12th year at the helm of NU, the five-time IWLCA National Coach of the Year leads all active coaches in career winning percentage (.865) and is second all-time in the category behind Penn State's Gillian Rattray.
Scouting the Blue Jays 2013 Season: 4-0 (0-0 ALC), No. 12 IWLCA 2012 Postseason: None Head Coach: Janine Tucker, 20th season (214-113) Key Players: Taylor D'Amore (Jr., A): 13 goals, 27 points, 19 draw controls; Sammy Cermack (Jr., M): 7 goals, 20 points, 13 draw controls; Jen Cook (So., A): 10 goals; Sarah Taylor (Jr., M): 12 goals, 7 draw controls; Katie Duffey (Sr., A): 5 goals, 12 ground balls In the Cage: Cosette Larash (Sr., GK): 19 saves, .432 save pct., 7.54 GAA Series History: Northwestern leads, 11-3 (Last Meeting: NU 13, JHU 9)
Northwestern heads to Baltimore this weekend looking to avenge a loss to the Blue Jays in NU's most recent trip to Homewood Field, a 12-11 outcome in a driving rain on April 16, 2011 that broke a string of 10 straight NU wins in the series. The Wildcats defeated JHU by four goals in both of the series meetings in 2012, first at NU's Lakeside Field and again in the semifinals of the ALC Tournament.
Hopkins will be playing Saturday for the first time since its 11-8 upset of then-No. 7 Loyola (Md.) on Feb. 27. In that game, freshman Dene' DiMartino scored on three free position shots to earn ALC Rookie of the Week honors and junior Taylor D'Amore added a hat trick of her own, giving her a team-leading 27 points on the year.
Scouting the Mids 2013 Season: 5-0 (0-0 Patriot League), NR (Faces Lehigh Saturday) 2012 Postseason: NCAA Tournament first round Head Coach: Cindy Timchal, sixth season at Navy (81-22); 31st season overall (417-108) Key Players: Jasmine DePompeo (Sr., A): 17 goals, 32 points; Loren Generi (So., A): 18 goals, 23 points, 25 draw controls; Aimee Gennaro (Jr., A): 14 goals, 12 ground balls; Kathy Young (Sr., A): 14 goals, 24 draw controls In the Cage: Annie Foky (So., GK): 27 saves, .587 save pct., 5.43 GAA Series History: Northwestern leads, 2-0 (Last Meeting: NU 20, Navy 8)
A matchup between Northwestern and Navy means a clash of two of the sport's all-time coaching legends -- Navy's Cindy Timchal, the all-time winningest head coach in NCAA women's lacrosse, and her former star player at Maryland, Kelly Amonte Hiller. The two have won a combined 617 games and 15 NCAA championships (out of a possible 18) since Amonte Hiller's junior season at Maryland in 1995, and last fall were inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame as part of the same induction class.
Amonte Hiller and Timchal -- who compiled a 76-40 record as the first head coach of Northwestern Lacrosse from 1982-90 -- also were responsible for kick-starting the series between the Wildcats and Middies in 2011. In that game, NU's first-ever trip to Annapolis, Shannon Smith racked up six goals and three assists in an 18-8 Wildcats victory -- a performance she nearly matched in the 2012 meeting when she poured in five goals at Lakeside Field as NU came away victorious, 20-8.
Timchal has seen her squad -- the defending Patriot League champions -- coast past its first five opponents of the year, outscoring the opposition by an average of 16.2-5.8. Navy's attack is led by senior Jasmine DePompeo, who was a 2012 IWLCA All-South Region second team honoree and who has compiled a whopping 32 points on 17 goals and 15 assists through five outings.
Thornton, Flibotte Patrol Midfield For Wildcats
Northwestern's last two outings have served as perfect examples of how senior midfielders Taylor Thornton and Gabriella Flibotte are willing to do the little things -- at both ends of the field -- to control a game for the Wildcats. Consider:
Against Vanderbilt, 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.
Wednesday against Boston College, Flibotte was a constant nuisance to the BC attack, setting career highs with six caused turnovers--tied for the second-best single-game total in school history and five ground balls. More than once, a Flibotte caused turnover at one end led directly to a Wildcats score on the other.
Fitzgerald Flies Around
Along with Flibotte and Thornton, Northwestern senior first-team All-American Erin Fitzgerald played a big role in the Wildcats' dismissal of the Eagles Wednesday night. Fitzgerald tied a career best set twice before with five goals, but she also put in plenty of work in the midfield, establishing a new career high with four caused turnovers. The effort allowed Fitzgerald to quietly take over the team lead in goals this season with 12 and now has 143 for her career, nine shy of matching Meredith Frank (2006-09) for 10th on Northwestern's career goals list. She also is within reach of becoming the 13th member of NU's 200 career points club; Fitzgerald stands 35 points shy of the mark with at least 13 games remaining on Northwestern's 2013 schedule.
A Good Time to Go Home
This weekend's road swing to Baltimore means a trip home for two Wildcats underclassmen, both of whom are coming off career-firsts in recent games. Sophomore midfielder Brooks Lawler, who grew up in Alaska but attended Maryland lacrosse prep powerhouse McDonogh School, recorded her first career two-goal game against Boston College Wednesday, giving her five scores in her career. Another Maryland native, freshman midfielder Nancy Dunbar of Baltimore, notched her first assist on Feb. 24 at Vanderbilt before scoring on her first career shot attempt, an 8-meter try in the first half against Boston College. NU's matchup with Johns Hopkins Saturday will be played just a few short miles from Dunbar's high school alma mater, the Bryn Mawr School.
This weekend represents Northwestern's first and only road trip in the month of March, with the Wildcats settling in for a four-game homestand that begins Saturday, March 16, against Harvard (1 p.m.). Early-arriving fans to Lakeside Field will receive a free green Northwestern Lacrosse T-shirt to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day the following day.
There's still time to support the seven-time NCAA champion Wildcats through your purchase of season tickets -- visit the NUsports.com ticket page or call the Northwestern ticket office at 888-GO-PURPLE today! Eight-game packages are available for $49 for adults, $29 for youths and $99 for family plans (two adult, three youth season tickets).