March 3, 2012

Northwestern Routs Oregon in Home Opener

from press release

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Top-ranked Northwestern celebrated the occasion of its 2012 home-opener in style, outshooting visiting Oregon 35-7 en route to a 15-2 victory Saturday at Lakeside Field. Senior Jessica Russo led NU with four goals -- one off her career high -- while freshman Casey Bocklet notched two goals and two assists to tie Russo with a game-high four points.

On a day that featured temperatures in the low 30's with occasional snow showers, Northwestern overcame a red-hot Oregon goalkeeper in the early stages and eventually saw 10 different Wildcats hit the back of the net.

"I thought our midfielders did a good job creating some person-up opportunities and we were able to cause a lot of turnovers, we played aggressively on defense," said head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. "The conditions obviously weren't perfect so we did OK.

"(Jessica Russo) did a great job when she was in there, she was aggressive and put away her shots. We talked at halftime about taking that extra second (before shooting) and I think Jess did a good job putting those shots away."

Oregon's Caroline Federighi was the story of the game early on, recording six saves while allowing only one Russo tally at the 25:52 mark. But the Wildcats soon solved Federighi, beginning when junior Erin Fitzgerald scored and then assisted on a Gabriella Flibotte goal only 19 seconds later to put NU ahead, 3-0.

Junior Ali Cassera converted one of Northwestern's five free-position shot attempts on the day and Bocklet followed with her first goal of the day before Oregon got on the board at the 14:11 mark. Russo picked up her second when she skied for a high Bocklet feed and put it away with seven minutes left before half, and goalkeeper Brianne LoManto made three saves in succession in the final minutes before the break to keep the score at 6-1 at intermission.

Flibotte scored once again to begin the second half, this time off a free position, before senior Shannon Smith worked around the crease for her first point of the day at the 25:13 mark. A tally by Beatrice Conley and a quick-stick goal by Bocklet preceded a Taylor Thornton solo effort off a dodge to the left of the fan, which gave Northwestern a comfortable 11-1 lead with 16:28 to play.

Senior Lacey Vigmostad scored her fourth goal of the year when she took contact and powered her way through the 8-meter area before Russo went for two unassisted goals in under two minutes soon after.

Oregon's Shannon Propst converted a free position chance for the Ducks' second goal of the game, breaking a scoring drought of nearly 40 minutes for the visitors, but sophomore Kat DeRonda added one final score for Northwestern with 50 seconds to play off a nice pass on the crease by Bocklet.

Vigmostad set a career high with six ground balls and added a team-best four caused turnovers to pace the NU defense while Alyssa Leonard helped the Wildcats control possession with six draw controls, one more than the Ducks' entire team managed on the day.

Before the game, Northwestern was honored for its 2011 NCAA championship by a crowd of 757 at a blustery Lakeside Field. The ceremony included the Northwestern marching band and the unveiling of a banner commemorating all six national titles in program history.

Northwestern goes on the road for a Wednesday night contest for the second straight week, this time heading south to face Louisville in the first-ever meeting beween the two schools. After that, the Wildcats will face William & Mary Saturday in the first of four straight home games.


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