EVANSTON, Ill. -- A four-game homestand for Northwestern Lacrosse begins at 1 p.m. Saturday when the fourth-ranked Wildcats host Harvard, one of two Ivy League opponents set to visit Lakeside Field this season. Northwestern will be looking to protect its homefield against a Harvard team making its first-ever trip to Evanston.
In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday, Northwestern Athletics will once again be giving away green Northwestern Lacrosse T-shirts to all early-arriving fans at Lakeside Field on Saturday. In addition, the game will feature a raffle for the official green Under Armour shooting shirt being worn by the Wildcats in pre-game warmups, with all Northwestern students eligible to win! Single-game tickets may be purchased at the entrance for $7 (adult) or $4 (youth and senior citizens). All Northwestern students are admitted at no charge with presentation of a valid WildCard.
Where They Stack Up
Northwestern (6-1) held firm at No. 4 in both the IWLCA Coaches Poll and the deBeer Media Poll this week, one of four American Lacrosse Conference squads ranked in the top 15 of the IWLCA poll. Of the eight teams that join Northwestern in the top 9 of the national rankings, seven appear on NU's regular-seasons schedule.
On The Web
Wildcats fans unable to join the festivities at Lakeside Field can watch live online via the Big Ten Digital Network on Wildcats All-Access or listen online to the radio broadcast provided by WNUR (both linked above). Fans can also follow @NU_SportsLIVE on Twitter for live updates throughout both outings.
Scouting the Crimson 2013 Season: 0-3 (0-2 Ivy League), NR 2012 Postseason: None Head Coach: Lisa Miller (William & Mary, '87); 42-40 at Harvard (sixth season); 148-92 overall (16th season) Key Players: Micaela Cyr (Sr., M): 7 goals, 4 assists, 11 draw controls; Audrey Todd (Fr., A/M): 8 goals, 4 ground balls; Danielle Tetreault (Sr., M): 9 ground balls, 7 draw controls In the Cage: Annie Meyjes (So., GK): 22 saves, .344 save percentage, 16.3 goals against average All-Time Series: Harvard leads, 2-1 (Last meeting: Northwestern 7, Harvard 4; 3/2/2003)
Northwestern and Harvard have met on the lacrosse field just three times in their respective histories, though never before in Evanston and not at all since March 2, 2003, in Cambridge. Their first-ever matchup came in NU's program debut in the NCAA Tournament, a first-round game on May 8, 1983, which the Crimson won by a score of 9-2. Harvard also was on Northwestern's schedule in the Wildcats' inaugural season under Kelly Amonte Hiller when Harvard defeated NU, 9-3, in 2002.
In fact, this game marks the first for Northwestern against an Ivy League opponent other than Penn since the Wildcats hosted and defeated Princeton in the quarterfinals of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
Harvard is in its sixth season under veteran head coach Lisa Miller, who has longstanding ties to the Boston area as well as an important connection to Kelly Amonte Hiller. It was Miller who, during her time as a high school coach outside Boston, helped introduce Amonte Hiller to the sport of women's lacrosse and, more specifically, to her ultimate college choice, the University of Maryland. Miller went on to become to the first head women's lacrosse coach at Syracuse and led the Orange to six NCAA Tournament appearances in 10 seasons before taking the reins at Harvard.
The 2013 Crimson arrive in Evanston in search of their first win after back-to-back losses to ranked Ivy League opponents, first No. 15 Cornell and then No. 19 Penn. Harvard opened the campaign with a cross-country road trip to Stanford, where it lost by an 18-13 margin. Senior midfielder Micaela Cyr has paced the Crimson on offense with seven goals and 11 points in 2013.
'Cats Garner Weekly ALC Accolades
NU claimed a pair of weekly individual awards handed out by the American Lacrosse Conference Tuesday, with senior Gabriella Flibotte earning the league's Defensive Player of the Week honor while attacker Christina Esposito took home her first ALC Freshman of the Week award.
In all three Northwestern games last week, Flibotte stuffed the stat sheet and helped NU turn defense into offense at the other end. Flibotte began the week against Boston College with five ground balls, four draw controls and a career-high six caused turnovers, tied for the second-best total in Northwestern single-game history. Three days later at No. 12 Johns Hopkins, Flibotte set a career high with six ground balls and added three caused turnovers, three draw controls and two goals in transition. For the three-game span, Flibotte recorded 16 ground balls, 11 draw controls and 12 caused turnovers. The senior has moved into NU's top-10 rankings for career caused turnovers with 63.
Esposito posted back-to-back games of three points on one goal and two assists against Boston College and Johns Hopkins before topping that with a career-best effort of three assists and four points at Navy Monday. A member of NU's starting lineup in all three games, Esposito helped the 'Cats establish their attack early in a win over No. 12 Johns Hopkins, setting up the first goal of the game and later scoring the first goal of the second half just 45 seconds into the stanza.
After scoring only seven goals in Northwestern's first four games of the season, returning first-team All-American Erin Fitzgerald has gone on a tear with a career-high-tying five goals in each of her last three outings. The run has moved her into the top 10 on NU's career goals list, where she stands 10th with 153, one better than Meredith Frank (2006-09). She also is on pace to become the 13th member of NU's 200 career points club; Fitzgerald stands 25 points shy of the mark with at least 11 games remaining on Northwestern's 2013 schedule.
Up To Her Old Tricks
Against Johns Hopkins on Saturday, junior defender Kerri Harrington had her first true faceguarding assignment of the 2013 season against JHU's Taylor D'Amore, and made the most of it. She held D'Amore without a point through the first 40 minutes of the game and limited her to just two assists for the game (D'Amore entered the game with 29 points on 13g and 16a in four games).
Harrington burst onto the scene in the 2011 national championship game as a freshman when she made her first career start and held Tewaaraton Award finalist Sarah Mollison of Maryland without a point for the first time in 67 games. She continued to execute her role with the same success in 2012, including in the national title game when she held Syracuse's Michelle Tumolo, holding her to one goal on one shot after the Tewaaraton finalist Tumolo entered the contest averaging 4.3 points per game.
Get to Know These 'Cats Christina Esposito is not the only newcomer making a splash for Northwestern in 2013. Freshmen Lauren Murray and Kaleigh Craig each have made significant contributions in the midfield as rookies. Murray has started three games and scooped up eight ground balls, also adding her first career goal in a win over Johns Hopkins Saturday. Also against the Blue Jays, Craig fueled Northwestern's first-half run with one goal and one assist.
With final exam week looming for the Wildcats, Saturday's game with Harvard is the last before an 11-day layoff between competition dates for Northwestern. The break comes at a good time for NU, who will resume action against a top-20-ranked Ohio State at home on Wednesday, March 27, before heading into a rematch of the 2012 NCAA championship game when it hosts Syracuse on Saturday, March 30. Both contests will air live to a national TV audience on the Big Ten Network.
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).