March 11, 2011

Northwestern Blitzes Cal in Home Opener

from press release

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Back in the friendly confines of Lakeside Field for the first time this season, second-ranked Northwestern powered past California, 19-8, for its sixth straight win Friday afternoon. Junior Shannon Smith supplied the offensive spark once again with four goals and four assists while freshman Kelly Rich dropped a hat trick in her first career contest on the shores of Lake Michigan.

NU, which outshot Cal by a 40-18 margin on the game, improved to 8-0 all-time against the Golden Bears with the win.

Northwestern's scoring balance was on display early with six different Wildcats contributing to the 'Cats' first six goals. Freshman Kara Mupo was the first to strike for NU only 1:43 into the game, but Cal then held NU off the board for the next five minutes until Amanda Macaluso gave the 'Cats a 2-0 lead.

With Northwestern leading 4-1, Smith sandwiched a pair of unassisted scores around a Cal goal by Tara Arolla. A trio of free position goals in the final 12 minutes of the half -- two for NU Jessica Rush and Erin Fitzgerald and one for the visitors -- set the halftime score at 9-3 in Northwestern's favor.

Northwestern continued to dictate the pace of the game in the second half, with Smith again tallying two more unassisted goals and Rich scoring twice in 34 seconds to put NU comfortably ahead, 13-4. One final blitz of five-straight scores down the stretch helped NU lead by as many as 13 before claiming the win, 19-8.

Senior defender Colleen Magarity was active in the backfield for the 'Cats, leading the team with three draw controls, while her classmate Kirstyn Atkinson paced the squad with five ground balls.

Goalkeeper Brianne LoManto turned away six Golden Bear shots, including several at point-blank range.

Up next for Northwestern is a matchup with William & Mary in a unique neutral site venue, brand new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Opening draw is set for 7 p.m. CT.

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