Nov. 15, 2013
Wisconsin 162, Northwestern 136
Norris Aquatics Center Evanston, Ill.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern swept every spot in the 500 freestyle late in a dual meet against Big Ten foe Wisconsin Friday at the Norris Aquatics Center to pull within seven points, but the Badgers were able to close the door on the comeback to defeat the Wildcats, 162-136.
Northwestern now is 3-3 overall on the dual-meet season, 1-3 in the conference. NU returns to action at its own TYR Invitational Nov. 22-24 at the Norris Aquatics Center.
Wisconsin started the meet with a sweep of the 200 medley relay over NU's top-finishing squad comprised of three freshmen and a sophomore: Lacey Locke (Carmel, Ind./Carmel), Julianne Kurke (Atlanta, Ga./Parkview), Ellen Stello (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood) and Annika Winsnes (Singapore/United World College).
In the first individual event, freshman Lauren Abruzzo (Denver, Colo./Kent Denver) played the race close to the vest through the opening half, consistently leading Wisconsin's Jenny Holtzen by a little under a body length until she cranked on the jets midway through to pull away for a 9.08-second victory in 10:02.56. Senior Megan Goss (Brentwood, Tenn./Ravenwood) added a pair of points for the Wildcats with a season-best 10:16.28 to finish fourth.
Senior Jackie Powell (Madison, Wis./James Madison Memorial) lost out on a tough three-way finish at the end of the 200 free, reaching the wall in 1:51.94 to miss out on first by eight one-hundredths of a second and second by a mere four one-hundredths. Freshman Lacey Smith (Boulder, Colo./Fairview) and sophomore Ellen Anderson (Montgomery Village, Md./Gaithersburg) followed with points in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Locke continued her early-career dominance in the backstroke with an easy victory Friday in the 100, coming home in 55.41 to win by over a second and a half. Sophomore Karen Turner (Lake Oswego, Ore./Lakeridge) made it a 1-3 finish with a third-place season-best time of 57.50.
After Wisconsin took the top-two spots in the 100 breast, Stello stormed out to the 200 fly lead midway through the race and won by more than a second in a season-best 2:01.74, a time that lowered her previous collegiate best by nearly a full 1.5 seconds. Senior Becca Soderholm (Madison, Wis./Madison East) also had a season-best effort in the race to garner third-place points in 2:03.15. The Badgers then again grabbed the top-two spots in the 50 free heading into the meet's first break.
During the first half of the meet, Wisconsin's lone diver won the 3-meter springboard over NU senior Mary Kate Campbell (Burr Ridge, Ill./Fenwick) in second, senior Cosima Lenz (Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic) in third and sophomore Caroline Grant (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier) in fourth.
The Badgers continued their sprint free prowess with a 1-2 finish in the 100 free coming out of the mid-meet break, getting an NCAA `B' cut from All-American Ivy Martin to win. NU's Winsnes and Powell were third and fourth, respectively, with Powell turning in a season-best 52.25.
Locke, who as we mentioned before is very good at the backstroke, won the 200-yard race by 3.89 seconds over her teammate Melissa Postoll (Acworth, Ga./Kennesaw Mountain), who fought off a challenge from Wisconsin's top swimmer by five one-hundredths of a second for a second place finish and a big 1-2 NU result in the event.
Kurke, Goss and sophomore Brooke Wanser (Mission Viejo, Calif./Saddleback Valley Christian) went 3-4-5 in the 200 breast to earn points for NU. Northwestern was helped, though, by a 1-3-4 finish on the 1-meter springboard during the second half of the meet. Lenz came out on top with a season-best 279.15 that was nearly 20 full points better than her previous season-high score. Grant placed third in 248.93 and Campbell was fourth with a 241.05.
Trailing in the meet by 20 points entering the 500 freestyle, Northwestern dominated to climb all the way back within seven. Led by Abruzzo's season-best 4:54.92, the Wildcats captured the top four spots for a clean sweep. Anderson finished early with Abruzzo in 4:56.27, then Erin Sosdian (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) out-touched teammate Megan Purdy (Boulder City, Nev./Boulder City) by two one-hundredths of a second in 5:01.98 for the right to third-place points.
Wisconsin battled back immediately with a 1-2 finish in the 100 fly to reclaim a 139-123 edge going into the final two events.
The Badgers pushed the meet to the brink with a win in the 400 IM, though NU's strong IM specialists hung in there for a 2-3-4 finish. Soderholm took second in 4:24.51, Abruzzo (who already had two wins earlier in the meet and a lot of yardage under her belt) grabbed third in 4:24.56 and Stello was fourth with a 4:28.13.
Wisconsin clinched the victory with a win in the final 200 free relay, though Northwestern did win a great race for second place when the team of Locke, Powell, Smith and Winsnes touched in 1:35.57, .22 of a second ahead of the Badgers' second squad.
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