Dec. 1, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With its first 10-win season since 2004 and fifth in program history, Northwestern continued its climb back to prominence under head coach Stephanie Erickson. NU has improved its win total in each year under the former Wildcat standout and finished the Big Ten regular season in a tie for fifth place with a 5-5 record after a preseason conference coaches' poll slotted the Wildcats 10th.
Individually, four Wildcats earned Big Ten Conference honors with seniors Jenny Dunn, Laura Janowitsch and Jeanette Lorme making the All-Big Ten second team. Freshman defender Nicole Duller earned a spot on the All-Freshman team. Senior Amanda Hoffman, with a team-leading six-goal season after not recording a single tally in her first three years, was NU's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award nominee.
NU's record books look a lot different following the 2008 campaign, with several 'Cats climbing NU's all-time lists in various categories. Dunn entered her senior season outside of NU's offensive top-10 categories and a spectacular season vaulted her to a place alongside Northwestern's all-time greats. With 16 career assists, Dunn moved into third place all-time. Her 50 career points are good for sixth and her 17 career goals put her in ninth.
Sophomore Sam Greene has already made her mark in several offensive categories, placing fourth on NU's all-time list with eight assists during the 2008 campaign. With 12 career helpers, Greene is sixth on NU's all-time list.
Between the pipes, sophomore Carolyn Edwards
, in her first season as the starter, finished with five shutouts and 75 saves. Her save total and 1.47 GAA are good for eighth all-time. With 1,779 minutes played in 2008, Edwards sits seventh on NU's all-time list. She is fifth all-time with five shutouts.
NU started the 2008 season at Lakeside Field and started the year on the right note with a 4-3 win over Nebraska. All seven goals were scored in the second half and the first came from the foot of Janowitsch, who scored the first goal of her career. NU went up 2-1 when Hoffman scored her first of a team-leading six goals on the year. Freshman Emily Langston scored the first goal of her career to give NU a 3-1 lead and Dunn recorded the game-winner late in the second half.
The Wildcats posted a 1-1 record in the Lakeside Invitational, falling 2-0 to LSU before downing Illinois State, 1-0. The 'Cats recorded another split in their second tournament -- the Pepperdine Nike Challenge in Malibu, Calif. -- falling to San Diego before topping Pepperdine in overtime. Against the Waves, NU overcame a two-goal deficit and got the game-winner from Janowitsch.
NU defeated a pair of local foes in Loyola (Chicago) and DePaul by putting up three goals in each contest. Against the Blue Demons, NU trailed 2-0 in the second half when Hoffman recorded NU's first hat trick since 2004 to propel NU to a 3-2 win.
Northwestern wrapped up the non-conference slate with a tie against Saint Louis and a defeat at UW-Milwaukee. After a late goal gave Purdue a 1-0 win over the 'Cats at Lakeside Field to open the conference schedule, the 'Cats downed then-17th-ranked Illinois by a 1-0 mark. Lorme's first goal of the year proved to be the game-winner and Edwards picked up one of her five shutouts in net.
The Wildcats dropped a pair of 1-0 decisions at Penn State and Ohio State to sit at 1-3 in the Big Ten entering a three-game home stand. NU got a timely game-winning goal from junior Kay Sampson to down the Indiana Hoosiers, 2-1. After a defeat at the hands of Michigan State, Northwestern got its first of back-to-back wins with a 1-0 win over Michigan on Senior Day. Dunn scored on a volley off a pass from fellow senior Lorme.
NU climbed to .500 in the Big Ten with a 3-2 double-overtime win at Iowa. Alicia Herczeg and Greene also scored goals, but Hoffman's team-best sixth was the game-winner in the 106th minute. No. 25 Minnesota defended its home field to defeat the 'Cats, 2-0, placing NU in a must-win situation in the season's final game.
Needing a win to make the Big Ten Tournament, NU got a goal in the 81st minute from Herczeg to down the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison, 1-0. The win gave NU a 5-5 conference mark and a tie for fifth place in the conference. The goal was Herczeg's fifth career game-winner.
Although the Wildcats did not reach their goal of an NCAA tournament berth, the Wildcats' 10-wins and fifth-place Big Ten finish -- both firsts since 2004 -- show the 'Cats continue to be a program on the rise.
NU loses a special four-member senior class that succeeded and provided leadership both on and off the field. However, the future looks bright in all positions on the field. Sam Greene tied for the team lead in points in her sophomore season and Alicia Herczeg scored four goals as a junior. NU will welcome back Kelsey Bertamus, who suffered a season-ending injury in the season-opener, to the front line.
In the midfield, Emily Langston started all 20 games as a freshmen and is joined by several experienced players. A strong group will return on defense and Carolyn Edwards enjoyed success in her first season as a starter. After a solid 2008, the 'Cats are already excited and getting ready for 2009.