Northwestern's Offense Awakens, Routs Vandy
from press release
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After a defensive struggle
Friday night against third-ranked North Carolina, Northwestern's
offense found its spark in Nashville as the Wildcats earned a
convincing 17-6 decision over 11th-ranked Vanderbilt at the VU
Lacrosse Complex. Northwestern improves to 3-0 on the year and 1-0
in the American Lacrosse Conference, notching its 37th-consecutive
Ten different Wildcats found the back of the net in the victory, led by a hat trick each by sophomores Erin Fitzgerald (Mt. Sinai, N.Y./Mt. Sinai) and Amanda Macaluso (Smithtown, N.Y./Hauppauge). It was Macaluso's second career hat trick, giving her a birthday to remember in Nashville.
Junior Shannon Smith (West Babylon, N.Y./West Babylon) led all players with five points, netting two goals and adding three assists as senior Brooke Matthews (Baltimore, Md./Friends School) and freshman Kara Mupo (Miller Place, N.Y./Rocky Point) each added a pair of goals in the victory.
Sophomores Taylor Thornton (Dallas, Texas/Hockaday School), Beatrice Conley (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) and Alexa Delyra (Brightwaters, N.Y./Bay Shore) and freshmen Kat DeRonda (Carthage, N.Y./Central) and Kelly Rich (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats.
Defensively, junior goalkeeper Brianne LoManto (Miller Place, N.Y./Rocky Point) notched four saves and allowed just three goals in 51 minutes of work. Senior Darby St. Clair-Barrie (Scituate, Mass./Brooks School) also added a save in relief for the Wildcats.
In the rematch of last season's American Lacrosse Conference title game, it was the home Commodores that struck first, taking a 1-0 lead with just over four minutes burned off the clock. But the Wildcats would respond, recording the next four goals over a 10-minute span to pounce out to a 4-1 lead. Matthews got Northwestern on the board, followed by Fitzgerald's first of the afternoon.
Mupo then tallied her first career goal off a feed from Smith behind the net, extending the lead to 3-1. Following a defensive stop, Vanderbilt's goalkeeper Natalie Wills attempted to clear the ball out of the zone, but the pass was intercepted by Thornton who made Wills pay, rocketing a shot into the back of the net to push the lead to three at 4-1.
After a Commodore goal cut the gap to two at 4-2, Northwestern tacked on the final three goals of the half. Smith converted on a wrap-around from the left side, then a pair of free position goals from Macaluso and Fitzgerald game Northwestern the 7-2 lead at intermission.
Vanderbilt struck again first in the second half, but the upset bid was then quickly thwarted as Northwestern would rattle off the next seven goals, breaking the game open at 14-3 with just over 10 minutes to play. Macaluso scored twice during the span, giving her her second career hat trick, with DeRonda notching the first goal of her Northwestern career.
Vanderbilt's Emily Franke would add a pair of goals to cut the deficit to two at 14-5, but the Wildcats' reserves would put the game away as Conley, Rich and deLyra notched their first goals of the season and the first of both Rich and deLyra's Wildcat careers.
Northwestern out-shot Vanderbilt 30-17, including an 18-7 edge in the second half. The Wildcats also took care of business on the draw (14-10) as freshman Alyssa Leonard (Bay Shore, N.Y./Bay Shore ) led all players with five draws on the afternoon. Junior Lacey Vigmostad (Northport, N.Y./Northport) also had a huge day defensively for Northwestern, causing five Commodore turnovers and scooping up four ground balls.
Northwestern remains on the road this coming week, wrapping up its challenging season-opening five-game road trip. The Wildcats head to Annapolis, Md., to face the Naval Academy on Thursday, March 3. NU then heads to our nation's capital to take on seventh-ranked Georgetown on Saturday, March 5.