March 5, 2011

'Cats Run Wild on Helpless Hoyas

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com | Game Blog Replay

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Let it be known that the Georgetown-Northwestern series was scheduled to end well before this game was ever played.

"They're dropping us from their schedule next year, so we wanted to go out with a bang," said Northwestern freshman midfielder Kat DeRonda. "Our offense was unreal today."

The No. 2 Wildcats (5-0) unleashed the next generation of their vaunted attack in a commanding 24-15 win over No. 7 Georgetown (0-1) before a crowd of 1,102. Northwestern junior Shannon Smith led all scorers with five goals and five assists, but she had plenty of help from the underclassmen. Four freshmen, led by attacker Kara Mupo (3g, 1a), and five sophomores, led by midfielder Amanda Macaluso (3g), got on the board in the Wildcats' fifth consecutive road win.

"Although we have a lot of kids coming back, offensively we're a little light on returners," said Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. "We're still experimenting and finding who's working well. We're seeing the team gel."

Macaluso got the Wildcats on the board first, on an unassisted shot at 25:59. Georgetown responded with back-to-back goals from Dina Jackson (3g) and Kathleen Dwyer (3g), taking a brief 2-1 lead at 23:24. That was as good as it ever got for the Hoyas, who struggled to stop or even slow Northwestern's attack. The Wildcats responded with a 5-1 run to take the lead for good, and continued to pour it on as the game progressed. By halftime, the score was 11-5.

"If you're in a high-scoring game with them, it's probably a problem for you," said Georgetown head coach Ricky Fried. "We played a high-pressure defense – maybe we should have packed it in more."

Georgetown's offense was capable, scoring 15 goals on just 28 shots with hat tricks from Jackson and Dwyer. But it was a historically bad day for the Hoyas' defense, with the most goals allowed in program history. (The previous record was set in a 23-0 loss to Maryland in 1977, during Georgetown's first year fielding an NCAA team.) Starting goalie senior Lauren Thomas (one save) played the first half before being pulled in favor of freshman Barb Black (one save) in the second period. Black allowed eight goals in 17 minutes before Fried put Thomas back in for the remainder of the game.

Alex Frank dominated the draw for Northwestern, winning 17 of 22 attempts, and added a goal. She had some help from Smith and freshman Alyssa Leonard, who came off the bench to win five out of 10 draw controls and score two goals on two shots. Overall, the Wildcats won 27 of 41 draws, generating dozens of fast-break opportunities that the Hoyas rarely found a way to halt.

"Alyssa has a softball background, and she can really catch pretty much anything in the air or on the ground," Amonte Hiller said.

Northwestern goalie Brianne LoManto finished with nine saves; Darby St. Clair-Barrie contributed two more stops in the final minutes.

Georgetown next travels to Gainesville on March 9, to face a Florida team with a profile similar to the Wildcats – fast, athletic and offensive-minded. Northwestern will return to Evanston to play unranked Cal, and bask in the glow of winning five straight games, all on the road and four against ranked opponents.

"We're definitely not satisfied with the way we played defense today," said sophomore midfielder Taylor Thornton (1g, 1a). "We calmed it down at the end and our attack was great. We got some goals out of transition, and now we know if they're going to take it away from Shannon and Erin [Fitzgerald], other people have the confidence to drive in, to go for it."

Northwestern junior defender Lacey Vigmostad received two yellow cards, making her ineligible to play in the Wildcats' next game, March 11 at home versus Cal.


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