March 24, 2011
No. 2 Northwestern (8-0, 1-0 ALC) vs. No. 20 Massachusetts (7-1, 0-0 Atlantic 10)
Saturday, March 26
Amherst, Mass. 6 p.m. CT
Live Stats: Gametracker
Live Streaming Video: UMassAthletics.com
Live Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE (Twitter)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With 10 Wildcats making a return to their home state of Massachusetts, No. 2 Northwestern (8-0) will square off with the 20th-ranked Minutewomen (7-1) at 6 p.m. CT Saturday at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst. It is NU's seventh game of the year and its third in a row against a top-20-ranked opponent.
Wildcats on the Web
Massachusetts will offer a live stream of Saturday night's game on its All-Access platform at UMassSports.com. A subscription fee is associated with the live stream, but NU fans who have previously purchased All-Access memberships for all CBS-affiliated schools will be able to watch the game for free. Live updates from McGuirk Stadium also will be available via Gametracker and Twitter
Scouting the Minutewomen
2011: 7-1 overall, 2-1 home, No. 20
Last Three Games: W at Marist (23-7), L vs. Albany (10-8), W vs. Stony Brook (20-13)
Head Coach: Angela McMahon (Northwestern '04), first season at Massachusetts (7-1, .875)
Key Players: Jackie Lyons (Sr., A), 16 goals, 14 assists; Katie Ferris (Fr., A), 20 goals, three assists; Haley Smith (Sr., M), 14 goals, 4-8 FPG-FPS; Katie Florence (Jr., GK), 78 saves, 8.95 goals against average.
Northwestern has taken seven games in a row off Massachusetts to seize a 7-1 lead in the series, with the last meeting ending 18-6 in NU's favor in the 2010 season-opener played in San Diego. Then-sophomore Shannon Smith had a breakout game against the Minutewomen, netting six goals--a career high that she has matched twice in 2011--and dishing out three assists for NU. The Wildcats are taking on one of their own this Saturday as 2004 NU alum Angela McMahon is in her first season patrolling the sidelines as UMass head coach. McMahon previously served as associate head coach in Amherst from 2007-08 before leaving to take the head position at Connecticut in 2009. McMahon is joined on staff by fellow Northwestern grad and former All-American Sarah Albrecht, who scored 199 career points for NU from 2003-06.
The Minutewomen are enjoying one of their most successful seasons in recent memory, having earlier this year reached a ranking as high as No. 12, its best since 1988.
No. 2 Northwestern Tops Syracuse at Blustery Lakeside Field
In weather conditions more reminiscent of a late-season Bears game at Soldier Field than a lacrosse match, No. 2 Northwestern got off to a significant early lead and kept No. 11 Syracuse at bay the rest of the way in a 16-11 victory over the Orange Wednesday in Evanston. Junior Shannon Smith spearheaded NU's attack, recording her second six-goal game of the season, while Erin Fitzgerald chipped in with a three-goal effort. Northwestern's dominance of the draw control was key all night as the 'Cats hauled in 22, with Alex Frank's game-high seven matching SU's team total for the evening.
Macaluso Ups the Ante
After a strong freshman season in which she started seven games and scored 14 goals, sophomore Amanda Macaluso has taken an increased role in Northwestern's offense in 2011. Macaluso scored twice on six shots against Syracuse Wednesday to raise her season total to 12 tallies.
Northwestern's success under the direction of Kelly Amonte Hiller has been reflected in a several statistical trends, perhaps most notable among them being NU's dominance at home and its ability to light up the scoreboard. The Wildcats' win over Syracuse Wednesday gave them victories in 65 of their last 66 games at Lakeside Field dating back to 2004. Meanwhile, NU has scored in double figure goals in all but one game since May 3, 2008 (59 games), with the lone exception coming in a 7-6 overtime win vs. No. 3 North Carolina earlier this season.
On the Horizon
Northwestern's challenging schedule does not get any easier in the coming weeks, but the 'Cats do have the benefits of playing at scenic Lakeside Field. NU will host a pair of top-5 teams over the coming weeks in No. 3 Duke (April 2) and No. 4 Pennsylvania (April 10), with both contests being carried to a national television audience on the Big Ten Network. In between, NU will host its second ALC conference match of the season when it faces Penn State on the lakefront on April 8.
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