Northwestern Jumps Ahead of No. 8 Penn Early
from press release
|Shannon Smith scored three goals
nad moved into second place on Northwestern's all-time goals list.
She's 19 shy of matching Kristen Kjellman's school record
© Kevin P. Tucker
PHILADELPHIA -- Poised for another showdown with a top-10 ranked Penn Quaker team, No. 1 Northwestern instead dominated possession early and jumped to a quick 5-0 lead, holding on the rest of the way to win 14-6 Sunday in Philadelphia. The Quakers turned the ball over on their first five offensive possessions and coughed the ball up a total of 16 times on the afternoon.
On the offensive end, Shannon Smith and Erin Fitzgerald each posted hat tricks, their seventh and fifth of the year, respectively. Smith moved into sole possession of second place on NU's all-time goals list and now has 231, 19 shy of matching Kristen Kjellman's school record of 250.
Junior Taylor Thornton and sophomore Kara Mupoeach also came away with two-goal efforts while freshman Casey Bocklet dished out two assists and now has a team-leading 16 on the season.The Wildcats now have won 10 of 11 meetings with Penn dating to 2005.
Fitzgerald opened the scoring for the Wildcats 2:35 into the game with a free-position goal, while NU held the majority of possession after unforced turnovers by the Quakers on their first two trips down the field. Following a third Penn turnover on a clear attempt, Thornton worked a swift dodge down the left of the fan and scored her 16th goal of the year to make it 2-0 10 minutes into the game.
Northwestern then received a textbook stick check and caused turnover from Alex Frank on defense, which led to a free position opportunity on the other end that Kat DeRonda finished for her sixth score of the year.
Another Penn turnover led to a stellar spinning dodge through the middle by Ali Cassera, and the junior from Fairfield, N.J. finished the sidearm shot to make it 4-0 and force a Quaker timeout. The break did little to stem Northwestern's momentum, with Shannon Smith coming from behind the net for an unassisted goal just over midway through the half.
Penn notched its first goal off the 8-meter four minutes later but continued to struggle maintaining possession and Northwestern worked the clock to under five minutes to go in the half. Junior Amanda Macaluso then saw her opening on the left of the fan and scored despite being fouled to make it 6-1 in the Wildcats favor. Smith netted her second of the day less than a minute later with a low scooping shot from the middle of the 8-meter area, and Northwestern held a six-goal lead with 3:49 before half.
After a second Penn free position goal, NU goalkeeper Brianne LoManto came up with two big saves to prevent the hosts from gaining momentum, and a perfectly executed offensive set resulted in Bocklet feeding Mupo for a goal with 35 ticks before the break. LoManto then stoned a point-blank shot by Penn's Erin Brennan in the waning seconds as the Wildcats took an 8-2 lead to the locker rooms.
Penn notched the first score of the second half only to have Fitzgerald respond with back-to-back 8-meter goals, securing her fifth hat trick of the year and a 10-3 Wildcats lead. Smith matched Fitzgerald's three-goal effort a few minutes later when Bocklet set up the senior from behind the cage.
With Northwestern continuing to work clock, Thornton created her own shot and scored for the second time with an aggressive left-side dodge, giving NU a 12-5 lead. After a Penn 8-meter score, Mupo finished put away a quickstick goal after a pass from behind the net by Alyssa Leonard. Sophomore Kate Macdonald rounded out the scoring with 47 seconds to play, her fourth goal of the year.
LoManto finished with five saves in a game in which Penn only mustered 11 shots. Northwestern also held a 21-11 in ground balls for the day.
With its final regular season road trip in the books, Northwestern returns to Evanston for five consecutive home games at Lakeside Field to close the schedule. The Wildcats get it started against fourth-ranked North Carolina at 7 p.m. Friday in a contest that will be carried live to a national audience on the Big Ten Network.