Dec. 19, 2007
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With plenty of offensive firepower, a stout defense and an All-American goalkeeper returning for 2008, the three-time defending national champion Northwestern lacrosse team was tabbed preseason No. 1 by Lacrosse Magazine.
The Wildcats return their top two point leaders from their championship squad of 2007 in juniors Hannah Nielsen (Adelaide, Australia/Brighton Secondary) and Hilary Bowen (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton). Nielsen, a first-team All-American and one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy -- won by former Wildcat Kristen Kjellman -- led NU with 119 points on 50 goals and 69 assists.
Bowen, who was tabbed as a third-team All-America selection in her sophomore season, was tied for second with first-team All-American Meredith Frank (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) on the Wildcats with 61 goals. As an offense, the Wildcats set NCAA single-season records with 361 goals, 168 assists, 529 points and a 16.4 goals per game average.
All-Americans Morgan Lathrop (Briarcliff, N.Y./Hackley School) and Christy Finch (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) will anchor the Wildcat defense. Lathrop was named Inside Lacrosse National Goalie of the Year after leading the nation with a 5.92 goals-against-average and a .576 save percentage.
Finch was named the Inside Lacrosse and IWLCA Defender of the Year after finishing second in the NCAA with 59 caused turnovers and 53 ground balls.
Northwestern opens the season with three-straight road contests with the season opener coming on Feb. 17 at California in Berkeley.
In 2007, NU captured it's third-straight women's lacrosse national championship. The Wildcats became only the second team in NCAA Division I women's lacrosse history to accomplish that feat.
Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Top 20
3. Duke *
5. Syracuse *
6. Penn *
8. North Carolina *
9. Johns Hopkins *
11. Georgetown *
12. Notre Dame *
13. Vanderbilt *
14. James Madison
15. Penn State *
17. Boston University *
19. Rutgers *
* indicates 2008 opponent.