(Live Stats, Video Streams, Results, Tournament Info)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Fresh off an exhilarating appearance at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, No. 5 Northwestern now turns its attention to its postseason goals, beginning with the 2014 American Lacrosse Conference Tournament this week in Evanston. With the privilege of hosting the last ALC Tournament in history, the Wildcats will be eyeing their seventh league tournament championship in eight years and open play as part of a triple-header Thursday.
After things get underway at 2 p.m. Thursday with Penn State facing Johns Hopkins in the 4-5 game, third-seeded NU will take on Vanderbilt at 4:30 p.m. (CT) for the right to advance to a semifinal matchup Friday night against either Ohio State, the No. 2 seed, or seventh-seeded Michigan. The semifinal contest featuring NU would be the second of two on Friday evening, scheduled for a 7 p.m. start following a 4:30 p.m. tilt between No. 1-seeded Florida and the first-round winner between the Nittany Lions and Blue Jays.
Sunday's championship game will begin at 11 a.m. CT.
Tickets will be sold as day passes each day of the event at a cost of $8 for adults and $5 for youth, students and senior citizens. All Northwestern students will be admitted FREE OF ADMISSION with presentation of a valid Wildcard.
Spectator parking will be available in the lot immediately adjacent to Lakeside Field at the NORTH end of the field beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Friday. Parking in other on-campus lots, specifically on Thursday and Friday, will result in a parking ticket. Parking is free in most University lots on weekends.
How to Watch
All six games of the 2014 ALC Tournament will stream live on the Big Ten Digital Network, a subscription streaming video service that can be purchased at the monthly rate of $14.95. The BTDN streams offer full-scale production value, with multiple camera angles, replays, and play-by-play and color commentators for each of the six games.
The Last Meeting
April 10, 2014
Northwestern Pulls Away from Vanderbilt, 15-9
Fifth-ranked Northwestern began a critical four-game homestand with flair Thursday evening, giving visiting Vanderbilt fits defensively en route to a 15-9 win in American Lacrosse Conference action.
This and That on the ALC Tournament
Northwestern Lacrosse fans will be on hand for the last of eight American Lacrosse Conference Tournaments, with the league set to disband following the year when four members (Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan) join with newcomers Maryland and Rutgers to form the Big Ten Women's Lacrosse Conference in 2015. The ALC has been operational for 13 seasons in total, beginning in 2002 in coincidence with Northwestern's first year back as a varsity program under Kelly Amonte Hiller. Including ALC Tournament competition -- where Northwestern is 13-1 all time -- the Wildcats own an all-time record of 64-17 in ALC action.
In a testament to the consistent strength of the American Lacrosse Conference, this year's ALC Tournament begins with five of the seven teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation in the latest IWLCA poll: No. 3 Florida, No. 5 Northwestern, No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 Johns Hopkins and No. 10 Ohio State (the No. 2 seed in the Tournament). The current top 10 is composed exclusively of ALC and ACC opponents, with Maryland, Syracuse, North Carolina, Boston College and Duke joining the five ALC representatives.
Vanderbilt (2) and Ohio State combined to win the first three ALC championships before Northwestern began a run of seven consecutive conference titles, which was interrupted in 2012 by the Florida Gators. NU then came back to win the conference tournament (and thereby the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship) in 2013. The Wildcats have won six of the seven ALC Tournaments since the event's inception in 2007.
Northwestern last had the honor of hosting the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament in May, 2008, when the event was in its second year of existence. With just five teams in the league at the time, the Wildcats stormed its way to the tournament crown, defeating Penn State in the semifinals, 15-7, before trouncing second-seeded Vanderbilt in the championship game, 14-3.
In order for Northwestern to walk away with the 2014 ALC Tournament crown, it could require the 'Cats to defeat up to two teams against whom they lost in the regular season (Ohio State and either Florida or Johns Hopkins). All three of NU's league losses came by a single goal, with both the OSU and Hopkins games decided in overtime. In both 2011 and 2013, Northwestern fell to Florida in the regular season only to return the favor when it mattered most, besting the top-seeded Gators 10-9 in the 2011 title game and 8-3 a year ago. Kelly Amonte Hiller-coached squads have only lost to the same team twice in one year on two occasions: in 2012 to the Florida Gators and in 2013 to the eventual NCAA champion North Carolina Tar Heels.
Did You See That?!
On her way to scoring a hat trick at Wrigley Field, senior Alyssa Leonard wowed the 5,145 fans at the Friendly Confines with a nifty over-the-shoulder goal against USC goalkeeper Liz Shaeffer. The move earned her the No. 10 spot on SportsCenter's Top-10 plays of the day for Saturday (April 26), with her highlight receiving narration from Northwestern alum and regular SportsCenter anchor Steve Weissman. Watch the clip below:
Mupo on the Move
In the absence of prolific goal-scorer and dodger Kaleigh Craig over the last two games, Northwestern's attack received a noticeable boost from redshirt junior Kara Mupo, who put up back-to-back four-goal efforts against No. 4 Florida and USC. Mupo's quick finishes around the cage against the Gators helped fuel NU's comeback from a six-goal second-half deficit, and she did all she could to play the role of heroine when she had a would-be game-tying goal taken off the board when it was determined she stepped in the crease in the final minute. Against USC, she had the honor of scoring the first lacrosse goal at Wrigley Field in more than 90 years and later bookended a 6-0 Northwestern run that allowed the Wildcats to pull away, finishing with a career-high-tying five points. Mupo is Northwestern's active career leader in both goals and points, with four more goals (83) and one more point (101) than her closest competitor, Alyssa Leonard.
Carroll Coming On
Another Wildcat who has helped fill the void left by Craig has been junior Jess Carroll, who has been inserted into the attack and has made the most of her opportunities. Carroll recorded her first career multi-point game with two goals in NU's 13-12 defeat vs. Florida and followed it up with a one-goal, one-assist performance against USC Saturday night. The Houston native now has six goals this season (nine for her career) to go along with 11 ground balls.
Harrington Finishing Strong for 'Cats
Senior Kerri Harrington set a career high in the final regular season game of her career, leading Northwestern with three caused turnovers in NU's 12-7 win over USC at Wrigley Field on Saturday night. Harrington keyed a defensive effort that saw the Wildcats keep the Trojans off the board for more than 24 minutes spanning halftime, allowing Northwestern to open an eight-goal lead.
Leonard Continues to Cruise in Draw Circle
As her outstanding Northwestern career reaches its stretch run, senior Alyssa Leonard has remained as consistent as ever in the draw circle for NU, winning eight more draws in her last five outings to bring her season total to 118 -- seven shy of her single-season school record set last year. Leonard, who has controlled six or more draws in 12 of 15 games, has raised her Division I career record total to 424, good for an average of 5.2 per game over her career. She also is second on the team in both goals (28) and points (35) and enters her final postseason with exactly 100 points scored in her career.
'Cats Leave Wrigley With 12-7 Victory, Lasting Memories
Northwestern Lacrosse may be without an Illinois native on its 35-player roster, but it's safe to say the 2014 Wildcats now have what must feel like a lifelong connection with venerable Wrigley Field. From walking the clubhouse tunnel to learning the quirks in its landscape and the way it reflects a setting sun, the Wildcats were able to experience the Friendly Confines Saturday night in a way that few do, bringing their own sport and style to the 100-year-old landmark in the process. Kelly Amonte Hiller and her fifth-ranked Northwestern squad defeated a game USC Trojans opponent, 12-7, in the stadium's first-ever women's collegiate sporting event and the first instance of lacrosse at Wrigley Field in more than 90 years. A crowd of 5,145 filled the stands to brave a whipping wind off Lake Michigan and experience a new chapter in the home of the Chicago Cubs. Relive the special night with video highlights, photos, player reaction and more on NUsports.com.
Regardless of how the ALC Tournament plays out, the seven-time NCAA champion Wildcats will be going dancing once again this spring. The 26-team field for the 2014 NCAA Championship will be announced in an online studio show at 8 p.m. CT on Sunday (May 4). Tune in or visit NUsports.com following the event to learn the path the Wildcats must travel in order to reach championship weekend for a 10th consecutive season. This year's semifinals and championship game are slated to be held at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Md., site of NU's 2008, 2009 and 2010 championship game appearances.
Check out Northwestern Lacrosse Gameday At-A-Glance below for a look at facts, figures and more to get ready for NU's ALC Tournament matchup with Vanderbilt:
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