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    Gillette Stadium the Site of NU's Showdown with Ohio State Saturday

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Alex Frank, pictured here in NU's game at Cowboys Stadium last season, will be playing close to home when the Wildcats take the field in Foxboro Saturday.
    Alex Frank, pictured here in NU's game at Cowboys Stadium last season, will be playing close to home when the Wildcats take the field in Foxboro Saturday.

    March 29, 2012

    No. 1 Northwestern (9-0, 1-0 ALC) vs. No. 14 Ohio State (7-2, 0-1 ALC)
    Saturday, March 31 • 2 p.m. CT
    Gillette Stadium
    Foxboro, Mass.
    Streaming Video: Wildcats All-Access (tentative)
    Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
    Live Stats: Gametracker

    Buy NU Lacrosse Tickets Online! | 2012 Promotional Calendar

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- As part of the first-ever collegiate women's sports event of any kind in the home of the NFL's New England Patriots, Northwestern puts its undefeated record on the line Saturday when it faces No. 14 Ohio State at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. The pivotal American Lacrosse Conference matchup gets underway at 2 p.m. CT following game one of Saturday's doubleheader, which pits No. 2 Syracuse against Harvard.



    Northwestern On the Web
    A live stream of this Saturday's matchup in Foxboro is tentatively planned to be carried for free on's Wildcat All-Access. Fans also are encouraged to access live Twitter updates (@NU_SportsLIVE) during the game along with live stats via Gametracker, linked above.

    Inside Wildcat Lacrosse Rolls On with Episode Two
    Fans of Northwestern's defending national champion women's lacrosse program have a new way to get an inside look at the team, thanks to the launch of Inside Wildcat Lacrosse, a new weekly web series from Northwestern. Click here to watch the latest installment, which recaps an exciting Wildcats spring break spent taking advantage of all that the nearby city of Chicago has to offer.

    Scouting the Buckeyes:
    2012: 7-2, 1-0 neutral, 0-1 ALC, No. 14 IWLCA
    Last Three Games: L vs. Florida (10-8); W at St. Bonaventure (15-8); W at Canisius (14-11)
    Head Coach: Alexis Venechanos (Maryland '03); 17-9 at OSU (second year); 53-47 career
    Key Players: Alayna Markwordt (Sr., A): 22g, 28a, 10 GB's; Jackie Cifarelli (Fr., A): 19g, 18a, 8 GB's; Gabby Capuzzi (Sr., M): 24 g, 23 GB's, 32 DC's; 23 CT's
    In Goal: Tori DeScenza (Fr.): 57 saves, .487 save pct., 8.30 GAA

    Ohio State head coach Alexis Venechanos spent three seasons as an assistant coach to Kelly Amonte Hiller, sharing the sideline with her during Northwestern's first two NCAA championship runs. Her team is looking to bounce back from a narrow 10-8 loss to No. 5 Florida on Saturday in the conference opener, which came despite a strong four-goal performance by Kirsten Donahue. OSU counts on a pair of seniors in Alayna Markwordt and Gabby Capuzzi to provide the offensive spark, with the two combining for 72 points on the year. Freshman Jackie Cifarelli also is off to a fast start in her college career racking 19 goals and 18 assists.

    Series Information:
    Northwestern owns an 8-2 advantage in its all-time series with Ohio State, including wins in the last eight meetings. Last season, the Wildcats overcame several weather delays and torrential downpours at Lakeside Field to knock off the Buckeyes, 14-11, on the strength of a career-best five goals by Jessica Russo. NU built a substantial six-goal second-half lead, but the three-goal margin of victory represented the smallest for the 'Cats in the series since 2004.

    Homeward Bound
    In addition to Kelly Amonte Hiller, who grew up just under 30 miles from Foxboro in Hingham, Mass., Northwestern boasts eight players who hail from Massachusetts. That includes the Westwood-based trio of Alex Frank, Kelly Rich and Kerri Harrington as well as Ellie Clayman (Beverly), Kate Macdonald (Norwell), Maria Tedeschi (Norwell), Gabriella Flibotte (Cohasset) and Amanda McLaughlin (Wilbraham).

    Last Time Out:
    A frenetic first seven minutes of action in which No. 1 Northwestern and Navy combined for seven goals gave way to a Wildcats rout the remainder of the game as NU defeated the visiting Midshipmen, 20-8, Sunday at Lakeside Field. Northwestern's trio of offensive leaders were too much for Navy to contain, with Shannon Smith scoring eight points on five goals and three assists while junior Erin Fitzgerald and sophomore Kara Mupo each tied career highs with five points apiece. Fitzgerald netted four goals for the second straight game while Mupo put up five goals in a game for the second time this season. NU recorded 43 shots as a team, six more than its previous single-game high set in the opener against Stanford.

    Northwestern Against the ALC
    Few teams in any sport have had as much success against their conference opponents as Northwestern has had against American Lacrosse Conference foes over the past eight seasons. The Wildcats won 38 consecutive regular-season ALC games between May 6, 2004 and April 14, 2011, and now boast wins in 42 of their last 44 games against ALC opponents. Northwestern has won seven consecutive ALC titles and has won all five ALC tournaments since the event's inception in 2007. In 2011, the 'Cats entered the tournament without the No. 1 seed for the first time and still managed to bring home the hardware, avenging a prior loss to top-seeded Florida in the championship game, 10-9, in Nashville.

    Fitzgerald Garners Weekly ALC Honor
    The American Lacrosse Conference this week selected Northwestern junior midfielder Erin Fitzgerald as the league's Offensive Player of the Week after Fitzgerald recorded consecutive four-goal efforts in a pair of NU victories over the weekend. Fitzgerald's week began in Friday's 13-6 win over No. 11 Vanderbilt in the 'Cats' 2012 season opener. The Commodores cut what was a five-goal NU lead to one, 6-5, with 23 minutes to play, but Fitzgerald restored momentum for the Wildcats with back-to-back free position goals, the start of a 5-0 Northwestern run that put the game away. She was equally as clutch in the first half against Navy on Sunday, either scoring or assisting on five straight NU goals that took the game from a 2-2 tie to a 7-4 Wildcats advantage. Her five points against the Mids matched her career high.

    Wildcat Wall
    Northwestern's veteran defensive unit has stymied opposing offenses this year, entering the week ranked first nationally in fewest goals surrendered per outing at 6.33. Senior goalkeeper Brianne LoManto has been the anchor in the cage for the NU defense, leading the nation in goals against average with a remarkable 5.70 goals allowed per game. In fact, LoManto is the only goalkeeper in the country with a GAA below 7.0. NU also is tied for eighth in ground balls and ranks 12th in caused turnovers per outing.

    Smith Chasing Northwestern Records
    Senior attack Shannon Smith continues to put up remarkable offensive numbers, just as she did in 2011 when she set the NU school record for single-season goals (86) en route to winning the Tewaaraton Trophy. Smith leads Northwestern with 32 goals and 43 points and has found her stride of late, going for seven points vs. UMass and topping that with a season-high eight (5g, 3a) vs. Navy on March 25. She now ranks third on Northwestern's career points (311) and goals list (220), standing just 30 goals shy of tying Kristen Kjellman's (2004-07) school standard of 250 career goals.


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