May 28, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) announced the 48 student-athletes that comprise the 2012 first, second and third-team All-America teams, a group that includes four standouts from the recently crowned NCAA champion Northwestern Wildcats.
Headlining the list for NU are a pair of first-team All-America selections, junior defender and Tewaaraton Award finalist Taylor Thornton (Dallas, Texas/Hockaday School) and senior attacker Shannon Smith (West Babylon, N.Y./West Babylon). The high-scoring Smith completes her Wildcat career as a three-time first-team IWLCA All-American, while Thornton earned her second straight first-team nod after garnering third-team honors as a freshman in 2010.
Senior defender Alex Frank (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) and junior midfielder Erin Fitzgerald (Mt. Sinai, N.Y./Mt. Sinai) each were among 16 players named to the IWLCA's second team All-America roster. Like Smith, Frank leaves NU as a three-time All-American (twice second team, once third team) while Fitzgerald receives her first such recognition.
Thornton's tremendous season saw her continue the defensive prowess that earned her 2011 IWLCA Defender of the Year honors as a sophomore while also taking her offensive game to the next level, finishing with 33 goals after scoring the game-winner in the national title game victory over Syracuse. Her 71 draw controls and 58 ground balls this year each rank in the top five performances ever in a single season by a Wildcat while her 28 caused turnovers were the ninth-most by an NU player.
Smith, the 2011 Tewaaraton Award winner and a two-time MVP of the NCAA Championship, scored 94 points in her senior season while becoming the program's all-time leading goal-scorer with 254 goals in her career. Smith ranks in the top 10 all-time in Division I women's lacrosse in both points and goals and keyed Northwestern's attack during its run to a seventh title, with two goals and six assists on championship weekend.
Frank committed herself to the defensive end as a senior after scoring 55 goals in her first three seasons at NU, and the move paid dividends for the Wildcats. Frank finished with 36 caused turnovers, the third-best single-season total in Northwestern history, to go along with 42 ground balls and 24 draw controls.
Fitzgerald set career highs for both goals (56) and points (65) this season, notching nine games with at least three goals including a career-high-tying five in an overtime victory over Ohio State and four in the NCAA quarterfinal win against Duke.
Northwestern won its seventh NCAA women's lacrosse championship in eight years Sunday when it defeated Syracuse, 8-6, in the national title game.
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