March 10, 2012

Top-Ranked Northwestern Rolls Over W&M

from press release

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Boosted by junior Taylor Thornton's first career hat trick and a four-goal effort by senior Jessica Russo, top-ranked Northwestern overwhelmed visiting William & Mary, 19-7, Saturday at Lakeside Field. The Wildcats led by as many as 15 late in the game after scoring eight of the game's first nine goals at the outset.

Defensively, senior All-American Alex Frank wreaked havoc on William & Mary in the midfield, causing a career-best six turnovers on the afternoon. That sum ties for the second-most ever recorded by a Wildcat in a single game and also gives Frank 81 for her career, moving her ahead of her sister Meredith (2006-09) and former NU great Courtney Koester (2002-05) into third on the school's career list.

Thornton needed just over 20 minutes of game action to surpass her previous career high of two goals in a game, with her first tally coming only 42 seconds after the opening draw.

Watch Game Highlights

Russo followed suit by scoring on a Northwestern person-up opportunity and, after the Tribe countered with their own extra-man goal, the Wildcats notched two goals in rapid succession to pounce on a 4-1 lead. Just nine seconds after the Tribe goal, Russo took a feed from Shannon Smith on the break for her second straight score, and Thornton took the ensuing draw control and raced down the field to make it two goals in 14 seconds.

Those goals represented the start of a 6-0 Wildcats run as tallies by sophomores Kelly Rich and Alyssa Leonard preceded another quick goal off the draw control by Russo, once again assisted by Smith. An unassisted goal by Smith around the crease completed the run and put the Wildcats comfortably ahead, 8-1, less than midway through the opening half.

The Tribe's Taelor Salmon ended the visitors' scoring drought, but Thornton restored the seven-goal lead and secured her hat trick with another solo effort at the 11:31 mark. Lacey Vigmostad won the ensuing draw control and raced past the William & Mary defense to feed Smith for one of the more remarkable goals in Lakeside Field history, an over-the-shoulder no-look finish by the senior that gave NU its largest lead of the game at 10-2.

Unfortunately for Smith, who racked up two goals and three assists in only 18:38 of game time, an injury suffered only moments later would sideline her for the rest of the game.

Her teammates more than adequately picked up the slack, with Kara Mupo scoring her first of the game with 2:13 to go to send NU into halftime ahead, 11-3. Northwestern then scored the first seven goals of the second half to put the game away for good, beginning with Russo's fourth of the afternoon off a free position less than a minute out of intermission.

Mupo and Rich converted 8-meter attempts -- two of NU's five free position goals for the game -- before Mupo set up Erin Fitzgerald for two scores in exactly one minute's time as the Wildcats took a 13-goal lead.

Goals by senior Beatrice Conley and Brooks Lawler concluded the NU run, and junior Ali Cassera tacked on one final score off a dish by Casey Bocklet with 4:51 to round out the Northwestern scoring.

Mupo finished with four points on two goals and two assists one game after notching her career best with five goals against Louisville. In addition to her career scoring day, Thornton also paced the Wildcats with six draw controls and three ground balls.

Northwestern continues its homestand in one week when it hosts Massachusetts at noon Saturday at Lakeside Field. Parking is free and tickets are available at the entrance to Lakeside Field ($7 adult, $4 student, $3 groups of 15 or more).

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