Navy Shows It Belongs, Nearly Upsets Northwestern
from press release
Senior attacker Erin Fitzgerald scored five goals Monday in No. 4 Northwestern's 15-12 victory at No. 15 Navy.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The No. 15 Navy women's lacrosse team (6-1) battled hard with No. 4 Northwestern (6-1), the defending national champion, but fell 15-12 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Monday. The game was televised by CBS Sports Network.
"I'm proud of the effort Navy had today and it was a reflection of how hard we have been working," said Navy coach Cindy Timchal. "We played them tough. We were trading goals and then they got that little bit of a gap on us offensively. They are a very good team though. There is a reason why they have won seven of the last eight national championships."
The game featured seven ties with the last coming at 10-10 with under 15 minutes to go before Northwestern went on a 5-0 run to take a 15-10 advantage. Navy senior attacker Jasmine DePompeo (Sayville, N.Y.) keyed a late rally with back-to-back goals in a 40-second span but the Mids could not regain possession and Northwestern closed out the game with the three-goal victory.
DePompeo, the nation's second leading scorer after Monday's game with a 6.71 average, scored a season-high eight points against the Wildcats on five goals and three assists. DePompeo has 47 points this season on 26 goals and 21 assists. She has scored at least seven points in six of seven games.
"Obviously a loss is never our goal, but I think we did play hard and I am proud of our effort," said DePompeo, a co-captain. "We came in to the game with confidence and we felt we were ready to play. Everyone on their team is high-caliber though and they capitalized on our mistakes."
Other than No. 3 North Carolina's 11-8 win over Northwestern on February 22, no team this season has played the Wildcats closer than the three-goal deficit that the Mids turned in on Monday.
Navy had a strong start to the contest as junior attacker Aimee Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.) scored back-to-back goals to give the Mids an early 2-0 lead. She scored her first goal off an assist from senior Kathy Young (Berywn, Pa.) at 27:07. Then just 20 seconds later, sophomore Loren Generi (Bayport, N.Y.) made a long pass out of a restart to DePompeo on a fast break who then made the extra pass to Gennaro who finished the play.
Northwestern answered with back-to-back goals by Christina Esposito and Taylor Thornton for the game's first tie at 2-2. Young then scored off an assist from DePompeo before Northwestern's Alyssa Leonard scored 19 seconds later. The two teams would then trade goals again as DePompeo sent a low shot trickling underneath Northwestern goalie Bridget Bianco followed by a goal from Kelly Rich.Navy then took a 5-4 lead with 14:19 remaining in the first half when Gennaro scored her third of the half off an assist from DePompeo. Northwestern then went on a 3-0 run to close the first half. The run began with an Amanda Macaluso free-position goal, followed by back-to-back goals by Northwestern's top-scorer Erin Fitzgerald for the 7-5 halftime lead.
The momentum that Northwestern had from its first half-ending run was quickly erased as DePompeo scored a man-up goal curling around the crease just 33 seconds into the second half. Leonard then controlled the ensuing draw and went right down the field to score in just nine seconds to keep the margin at two.
However, Navy showed its resiliency by fighting right back. First, Young found junior midfielder Jill Coughlin (Annapolis, Md.) cutting towards goal to cut the lead to 8-7 and then Gennaro sent a long pass to DePompeo behind the cage who came around the far side of the circle to beat Bianco to even the game once again at 8-8.
Thornton put the Wildcats up one as the defending national player of the year converted an eight-meter opportunity, but Navy tied the game again just 33 seconds later. The scoring play was keyed by senior Brijet Mall (Cumming, Ga.) off a restart, who sent a long pass to Gennaro, who then passed to Coughlin who scored at 21:24 to knot the game at 9-9.
Fitzgerald scored her third of the game two minutes later but Navy was able to capitalize on a man-up opportunity as Young scored an eight-meter goal at 17:05 to tie the game for the seventh time at 10-10. That's when Northwestern went on its game-clinching 5-0 run before DePompeo's two late goals. Northwestern's run spanned nine minutes and was led by two goals from Fitzgerald and a goal and an assist by Leonard.
In addition to DePompeo's eight points, Navy's offense was boasted by Gennaro's five-point game on three goals and two assists and Young's two-goal, two-assist effort. Coughlin also tallied two goals.
Foky made 11 saves for the third time this season and also had two ground balls, but took the first loss of her career. On the season, Foky (4-1) has a 6.84 goals-against average and a .532 save percentage, ranking in the top-10 nationally in both categories.
Generi had a team-high five draw controls, but Northwestern held the overall advantage at 17-12 and had three straight draw controls during the critical 5-0 run.
Northwestern held a 31-23 shot advantage on Navy and a 17-13 edge in ground balls.
Northwestern's Fitzgerald scored five goals and Leonard had three goals, one assist, two caused turnovers and seven draw controls. Gabriella Flibotte had a strong all-around game with one goal, five ground balls, four draw controls and three caused turnovers.
Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller played for Timchal at Maryland and the duo won a pair of national titles together in 1995 and '96. Amonte Hiller and Timchal have won 15 of the last 21 national championships and were both inducted to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2012.
The loss snapped Navy's program-record 17-game home winning streak.
Navy will play its third game in five days when the team hosts first-time opponent New Hampshire on Wednesday at 4:00 PM.
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