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    'Cats, Blue Devils Meet Saturday Eying Trip to Stony Brook

    Taylor Thornton enters the NCAA Quarterfinals riding a string of four consecutive two-goal games and now has 29 goals on the year.

    Taylor Thornton enters the NCAA Quarterfinals riding a string of four consecutive two-goal games and now has 29 goals on the year.

    May 16, 2012

    2012 NCAA Tournament -- Quarterfinals
    (2) Northwestern (18-2, 4-1 ALC) vs. (7) Duke (12-6, 3-2 ACC)
    Saturday, May 19 • 7 p.m. CT
    Lakeside Field • Evanston, Ill.
    Live TV: Big Ten Network (BTN Channel Finder)
    Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
    Radio: WNUR 89.3 FM

    Inside Wildcat Lacrosse: Episode 9 | NCAA Round 2 Preview

    NCAA Tournament Interactive Bracket

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Two programs looking for a return trip to the NCAA semifinals at Stony Brook University square off for that right Saturday night as No. 2 Northwestern hosts seventh-seeded Duke in the national quarterfinals. Start time at Lakeside Field is set for 7 p.m. CT with the Big Ten Network providing a live broadcast from Evanston.

    Northwestern is striving to be one of the last four remaining teams in the country for the eighth consecutive season while Duke, a 2011 participant in the national semifinals, is looking to advance to championship weekend for the seventh time in program history.

    Tickets to the game are available at the entrance to Lakeside Field on the day of the game ($8 adults, $5 youth and senior citizens). All Northwestern students in attendance will receive free admission courtesy of NU head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. Parking is free for all spectators.

    NCAA Round 2 Preview

    Following the 'Cats
    Saturday's game will be televised live to a national audience on the Big Ten Network (BTN Channel Finder) and will hit the radio airwaves throughout the Chicagoland area on WNUR 89.3 FM. During the game, fans also will be able listen live WNUR's radio broadcast, track live stats via Gametracker or follow in-game updates on Twitter (@NU_SportsLIVE).

    Setting the Standard
    Northwestern enters the 2012 NCAA Tournament looking to improve on its all-time postseason winning percentage of .810 (30-7), the best for any school in Division I women's lacrosse history. NU's mark of 29-2 in the national tournament under Kelly Amonte Hiller makes Amonte Hiller the winningest coach in the sport's history by postseason winning percentage (.935) and leaves her one win shy of tying Princeton's Chris Sailer for most career NCAA Tournament wins.

    In addition to nearing a postseason career record, Amonte Hiller also is setting herself up to reach a milestone early in the 2013 season, which will mark her 12th as head coach of Northwestern. Amonte Hiller's win over Notre Dame last week was her 193rd victory at NU, putting the 200-win plateau within reach when the Wildcats hit the field next spring.

    Scouting the Blue Devils:
    2012: 12-6, 3-2 ACC, 5-3 away, No. 7 IWLCA
    Last Three Games: W vs. Virginia (11-9), W vs. Penn (12-5), L vs. Maryland (12-3)
    Head Coach: Kerstin Kimel (Maryland '93); 216-111 at Duke (17th season)
    Key Players: Kerrin Maurer (Fr., A): 24 goals, 24 assists; Kim Wenger (Sr., M): 25 goals, 18 assists, 48 draw controls; Emma Hamm (Sr., A): 20 goals, 20 assists, 87 draw controls
    In Goal: Mollie Mackler (Sr.): 8.56 GAA, .459 save pct., 129 saves

    • Faced with a familiar foe in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, seventh-seeded Duke defended its home field advantage and came from behind to defeat Virginia, 11-9, and earn a trip to Evanston. It was the second straight win for the Blue Devils as they bounced back from a 12-3 defeat to Maryland in the ACC Tournament on April 21. Head coach Kerstin Kimel, a one-time teammate of Kelly Amonte Hiller's at Maryland, has her team ranked 10th nationally in scoring defense at 8.72 goals per game, led by the play of veteran goalkeeper Mollie Mackler. Another senior, midfielder Emma Hamm, continues to be a force for Duke, collecting 4.83 draw controls per game, while freshman Kerrin Maurer has come on to lead Duke with 48 points this season.

    Series Information
    Northwestern and Duke last met back on Feb. 19, a frigid and rainy day in Durham that resulted in a 13-5 Wildcats victory. NU wore down the Blue Devils and outscored them 8-2 in the second half -- turning the tables on the draw control after Duke won seven of nine in the opening 30 minutes -- and five goals and six points from Shannon Smith. Saturday marks the third all-time meeting in the NCAA Tournament between NU and Duke; the first was an 11-10 overtime thriller in the semifinals during Northwestern's run to a second national title in 2006, while the second was a convincing 18-8 Wildcat win in the 2010 quarterfinals at Lakeside Field. Northwestern owns a 9-2 edge in the all-time series and has won the last eight meetings.

    Advancing Against the ACC
    Kelly Amonte Hiller, a former All-American at Maryland, has been able to continue the success against ACC opponents she grew accustomed to in her playing days. Since taking over the reins of Northwestern in 2002, the Wildcats have played 38 games against Atlantic Coast opponents, posting a 30-8 record with a 14-1 mark in games played in Evanston. Northwestern, which was 6-0 last season against ACC squads, is 10-2 all-time vs. ACC teams in the NCAA Tournament under Amonte Hiller.

    Thornton Named a Tewaaraton Award Finalist
    One week after being voted the American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year, Northwester junior defender Taylor Thornton (Dallas, Texas/Hockaday School) has been named one of five finalists for the 2012 Tewaaraton Award, presented annually to the most outstanding performer in both men's and women's collegiate lacrosse. Thornton, whose contributions at both ends of the field make her one of the game's top all-around players, will be in attendance for the announcement of this year's winner at the Tewaaraton Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on May 31. Thornton is the first Tewaaraton Award finalist -- men's or women's -- to hail from the state of Texas since the program's inception in 2001. Her fellow finalists for the honor are: Florida midfielder Brittany Dashiell, North Carolina attacker Becky Lynch, Maryland attacker Katie Schwarzmann and Syracuse attacker Michelle Tumolo.

    Smith Climbs Northwestern, NCAA Record Lists
    Senior attacker Shannon Smith has moved into impressive company on both the NU and NCAA career scoring lists. Her one-goal, two-assist effort vs. Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament first round inched her to within one goal of matching Kristen Kjellman's (2004-07) school record of 250 for her career. She also stands third on NU's career assists list (102) and last week moved into second in career points with 351. Smith, who has started all 88 games in her career, also has a place on the NCAA all-time lists for both points (eighth, 351) and goals (10th, 249).

    Flibotte Lifts 'Cats with Midfield Play
    Junior Gabriella Flibotte has emerged lately as one of NU's most active two-way midfielders, and her dynamic play was especially on display at the ALC Championship in Gainesville when she collected All-Tournament Team honors. Flibotte recorded a career-best three caused turnovers in the ALC title game vs. Florida and matched that last week against Notre Dame. She also has won at least three draw controls in five of her last seven games after never recording more than two in any of the team's first 14 contests this season.


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