May 8, 2014
| 2014 NCAA Championship -- First and Second Rounds
| First Round: No. 16 Louisville 11, No. 10 Ohio State 10 (2OT)
|| Friday, May 9 | 7 p.m. CT
|| Lakeside Field | Evanston, Ill.
| Final Stats
| Second Round: No. 5 Northwestern (12-6) vs. No. 16 Louisville (16-3)
|| Sunday, May 11 | 1 p.m. CT
|| Lakeside Field | Evanston, Ill.
|| Big Ten Network (Tape Delay: 2 p.m. CT)
| Live Online Video
|| Big Ten Digital Network (Free)
| Live Online Radio
|| WNUR Sports
| Live Stats
| NCAA Bracket
|| Interactive | Printable
| Social Media
|| @NU_SportsLIVE | @NULax | Facebook
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The conclusion of what has been a compelling month-long homestand for Northwestern coincides with the start of the most important part of any season, the Division I NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship. Kelly Amonte Hiller, making her 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament as head coach of Northwestern, has guided NU to the bracket's No. 5 overall seed and the right to host first and second-round competition at Lakeside Field.
On Friday, Northwestern watched as No. 16 Louisville won their 12th consecutive game in dramatic fashion, topping No. 10 Ohio State, 11-10, in double overtime in Evanston. In doing so, the Cards secured a win in their first-ever NCAA Tournament game and earned the right to face the host Wildcats at 1 p.m. Sunday on NU's home turf.
Tickets to Sunday's game may be purchased at the Lakeside Field ticket booth for $8 (adults), $5 (senior citizens, students and youth) and $1 (infants). Northwestern students will be admitted at no charge upon presentation of a valid WildCARD, courtesy of Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller.
The Big Ten Network has announced plans to air Sunday's contest on tape delay beginning at approximately 2 p.m. CT, following the conclusion of the Ohio State at Michigan baseball game that begins at 11 a.m. CT. The women's lacrosse game is scheduled to be shown in its entirety once the preceding baseball game concludes.
For guaranteed live coverage, fans also may tune into the Big Ten Digital Network for a free online video stream of Sunday's second-round contest or the radio broadcast courtesy of WNUR Sports. Live in-game updates also will be available on Twitter by following the usernames @NULax and NU_SportsLIVE.
Visitors are directed to park in the surface parking log immediately to the north of Lakeside Field; however, due to an all-day swim meet at the nearby Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Aquatic Center, parking may be limited and may require overflow traffic to utilize the newly constructed parking garage approximately 75 yards from Lakeside Field.
A look at the other 25 teams that join Northwestern in the 2014 NCAA Tournament field reveals that the 'Cats posted a record of 7-6 in 13 games against those teams, with five of their six losses coming by just a single goal. Northwestern was one of five American Lacrosse Conference teams in the bracket, but saw three of their fellow conference members (Penn State, Johns Hopkins and Ohio State) suffer defeats in the opening round of the Tournament. Northwestern is aiming to be one of four teams left standing on Memorial Day Weekend to compete at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Md., site of the 2014 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship. The Wildcats took part in three previous championship weekends at the venue during their near-decade-long dynasty -- 2008, 2009 and 2010.
That Time of Year
Northwestern Lacrosse has become synonymous with postseason success during the head coaching tenure of Kelly Amonte Hiller, who ranks as the winningest coach in NCAA women's lacrosse postseason history both in terms of victories (34) and winning percentage (.919, 34-3). The Wildcats last year advanced to the national semifinals for a ninth consecutive season before suffering their first-ever loss in the round of four (previously 8-0). NU fell at the hands of eventual champion North Carolina, making it 10 straight seasons in which Northwestern either won the national title or was eliminated by the eventual champ. Including the early era of Northwestern Lacrosse, NU is 35-8 all-time in NCAA Tournament play, including a 19-0 mark in home NCAA games under Amonte Hiller.
The Cardinals In Brief
Louisville entered its first-ever NCAA Tournament riding an 11-game winning streak, with its last loss coming way back on March 8 vs. Notre Dame. Louisville is in its seventh season as a varsity program, and it has been one to remember: the Cards now stand 16-3 after winning both the BIG EAST regular season and tournament championships. The Cardinals posted a record of 3-3 against teams in this year's NCAA Tournament, and on Friday night avenged a regular-season loss to Ohio State with their dramatic double OT victory.
Northwestern and Louisville have met just once before, a meeting in Louisville on March 7, 2012, when the 'Cats received five goals from Kara Mupo on their way to a 16-7 victory. The Cardinals finished that season with only three wins, making their rise to BIG EAST champions two years later that much more remarkable. U of L's head coach, Kellie Young, has been at the helm for all seven of Louisville's varsity seasons.
Statistically, the Cards are led by senior All-American Nikki Boltja, who has accumulated 98 points on 71 goals and 27 assists, and junior Faye Brust (67 goals, seven assists). Boltja netted seven points (4g, 3a), including the game-winning 8-meter goal, Friday against the Buckeyes. Louisville is outscoring opponents by an average of more than 6.0 goals per game, while at the other end goalkeepers Ashley Peacock and Ashley Herbst have shared time and posted a collective 7.96 goals against average.
Leonard Paces to Go Out On Top
As her senior season approaches an end, senior Alyssa Leonard has remained at the top of her game in the draw circle, raising her NCAA career-best total to 450 and her Northwestern single-season record to 144. Leonard has not had fewer than eight draw controls in a game since April 4, a stretch of eight straight contests. Only twice this season has NU not finished the game with more draw controls than their opponent: March 31 vs. North Carolina (7-7) and April 10 vs. Vanderbilt (14-12).
Springing Into Action
Sophomore Spring Sanders made some notable contributions to the Wildcats' defensive efforts in the 2014 ALC Tournament. After starting just two games during the regular season, Sanders appeared in the starting lineup all three games of the Tournament and racked up a total of six ground balls, three draw controls and four caused turnovers over the course of the weekend.
Five 'Cats Receive All-ALC Recognition
Prior to last week's ALC Tournament, the league announced its 24 first- and second-team All-Conference selections as well as its special award recipients. Five Northwestern players represented the Wildcats on the All-ALC teams, with seniors Alyssa Leonard and Kerri Harrington earning first-team all-conference honors while senior Kate Macdonald, junior Bridget Bianco and sophomore Kaleigh Craig were named to the second team. Of the five, only Leonard has previously been named to an ALC All-Conference team in her career, having been tabbed a second-team All-ALC honoree a year ago. This marks the third straight season in which five NU players received an All-Conference nod.
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