April 3, 2010

Courtesy of Northwestern Athletics

Junior Brooke Matthews (Balitmore, Md./Friends School) netted a career-best five goals as top-ranked Northwestern used an extended run in both halves to hand fifth-ranked Duke a 19-14 loss at Koskinen Stadium. Senior Katrina Dowd (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) added four goals and a pair of assists as well for the Wildcats.

Northwestern came out aggressive early as Dowd won the opening draw, raced downfield and fired a shot past Kaitlin Gaiss just 17 seconds into the game. Duke would respond two minutes later, however, tying the game at one at the 27:38 mark.

That would be the story early in the opening half, as each time the Wildcats would take the lead, the Blue Devils would respond. Matthews would put NU on top 2-1, followed by a free position goal from Jessia Russo (Port Jefferson, N.Y./St. Anthony's) for the 3-2 advantage.

After Duke tied the game again at three with just over 17 minutes remaining in the half, the Northwestern offense seemed to find its groove, scoring six unanswered goals over a five and a half minute span to take control of the game at 9-3. Matthews and senior Danielle Spencer (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) each scored twice during the run with Alexandra Frank (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) and Dowd also finding the back of the net.

But the Blue Devils weren't about to go down quietly, scoring three unanswered goals of their own to cut the lead in half at 9-6 with 4:26 remaining in the opening stanza. Sophomore Shanon Smith (West Babylon, N.Y./West Babylon) ended the Duke run with a goal of her own at the 2:49 mark to push the lead back to four at 10-6, but three more Blue Devil goals, including the last with one second on the clock, trimmed NU's halftime lead to just one at 10-9.

Half number two started off similar to half number one as Matthews notched her fourth of the game to give Northwestern the 11-9 edge, only to see Duke respond with a goal of its own, which was then answered by Russo's second of the game.

Russo's goal seemed once again to spark the Northwestern attack as the Wildcats would again go on an offensive surge. Dowd, Frank and Smith each found the back of the net, pushing the Wildcat lead back to five at 15-10 with just over 20 minutes remaining.

After a Duke goal to cut the lead to four at 15-11, Northwestern responded by scoring the next four to put the game out of reach. Three Blue Devil goals in the final three minutes cut the final gap to 19-14, but the rally was too little, too late as the Wildcats earn their second-straight victory in Durham.

Frank would notch her second hat trick of the season for Northwestern with Smith, Spencer and Russo each adding a pair of goals in the decision, complimented by Smith's team-best three assists. Sophomore Lacey Vigmostad (Northport, N.Y./Northport) added a goal for the 'Cats with Frank, Spencer and junior Colleen Magarity (Oreland, Pa./Germantown Academy) dishing out assists on the afternoon.

Spencer, who became the 10th member of the Wildcat 200-point club on the day, was also lethal on the draw all afternoon as her 10 draw controls ties Kristen Kjellman for the program's single-game record. Dowd also added five draws as NU held a 20-14 edge on Duke.

Defensively, sophomore goalkeeper Brianne LoManto (Miller Place, N.Y./Rocky Point) recorded nine saves on the day including a handful in the opening minutes of both halves to keep the Blue Devil attack at bay and helped spark the offensive charge.

Northwestern now continues its tough road trip next weekend in the Keystone State taking on a pair of top-20 teams. The Wildcats first visit historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa., resuming their rivalry with Penn at 6 p.m. CT Friday, April 9. Northwestern then heads up the road to University Park, Pa., to take on ALC rival Penn State on Sunday, April 11.