February 25, 2014

Northwestern Wins Midwest Battle Over Marquette

from press release

LAKE BARRINGTON, Ill. -- The first-ever meeting in women's lacrosse between fourth-ranked Northwestern and second-year startup Marquette heavily favored the seven-time NCAA champions, with NU cruising to a 20-5 victory at the Lake Barrington Field House on Tuesday.

It was the first 20-goal showing for Northwestern since a 20-8 victory over Navy on March 25, 2012, while the 15-goal margin of victory was the largest by a Wildcats team since a 27-9 thumping of Vanderbilt on April 24, 2010.

Junior Kara Mupo tied a career high with five points on three goals and two assists, while sophomore Christina Esposito netted her first career hat trick in the win.

Junior Blake McHugh also recorded her first multi-goal performance and, in all, 15 different Wildcats found the back of the net on Tuesday -- including five (Caroline Gersuk, Sheila Nesselbush, Catie Ingrilli, Amanda McLaughlin and Lydia Cassada) who did so for the first time in their Northwestern careers.

Senior Alyssa Leonard set the tone early with dominance in the draw circle, collecting seven first-draws and totaling nine for the game, moving her past former Maryland great Dana Dobbie (2005-08) into second place on the NCAA Division I career draw controls record list with 338. Northwestern -- which outshot Marquette 38-12 in the game -- won 21 of 27 draw controls on the afternoon.

The Wildcats scored the game's first seven goals, beginning with senior Kate Macdonald's free position shot just under two minutes into the contest. Kat DeRonda drove uncontested and scored only 17 seconds later, and McHugh would raise the lead to 3-0 off a feed in front by Mupo.

Ingrilli struck at the 23:08 mark off the 8-meter arc and Mupo, Nesselbush and Esposito scored a trio of unassisted goals in a span of 2:06 to put the Wildcats comfortably in front, 7-0.

After Marquette's Hayley Baas scored the first of her three goals on the game, Mupo picked out Leonard for a quickstick goal at the 17:22 mark to set the count at 8-1. Then, following a second goal for Baas, Northwestern reeled off the next 10 goals scored to build an 18-2 lead and remove all doubt from the contest.

Other notable performances in a solid team effort by the 'Cats included Lauren Murray's four draw controls and Kate Ivory's three caused turnovers, part of 17 forced miscues on the day by the NU defense.

The game was moved from NU's home turf in Evanston to Lake Barrington because of temperatures in Chicagoland that dipped into the teens on Tuesday.

Northwestern is scheduled to return to action Wednesday, March 5, against a Notre Dame squad currently ranked No. 12. The game is slated for a 5 p.m. CT opening draw at Lakeside Field in Evanston.

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