March 17, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

Northwestern remained the top team in Division I women’s lacrosse with a pair of convincing victories over Hofstra and Rutgers last week, sparked by the stellar play of senior attacker Hannah Nielsen.

The native of Adelaide, Australia, combined for six goals and 11 assists in a 20-6 defeat of the Pride and 24-1 victory over the Scarlet Knights.  Nielsen, who was named American Lacrosse Conference Offensive Player of the Week for her efforts, became only the second Northwestern player to collect 300 career points during the week. 

Nielsen registered eight assists against Rutgers – the second-highest total of her career – and needs just seven assists to surpass Jen Adams as the NCAA’s all-time assist leader. She leads the nation with 55 points, 6.88 points per game and 31 assists.

The four-time defending NCAA champion Wildcats will look to maintain their flawless record when they host No. 4 Syracuse on March 22.  The game is a rematch of last year’s NCAA semifinal that Northwestern won 16-8.

ORANGE CRUSH: Syracuse University’s Katie Rowan etched her name in the Big East Katie record books as the conference’s all-time leading scorer last week, while propelling the Orange to a victory over Connecticut in league action.

The senior attack from Delmar, N.Y., tallied five goals and five assists in the win versus the Huskies, improving her point total against league opponents to 97 in 16 regular season BIG EAST games.  Rowan now has 201 career goals, becoming the 34th player in NCAA Division I history to achieve the feat.  She was recognized as the league’s Offensive Player of the Week for her accomplishments.

Rowan enters a contest at Towson on March 17 as the BIG EAST’s leading scorer this season with 34 points on 23 goals and 11 assists.

CREEPING UP:  Old Dominion’s Kelly Kimener ascended into the school’s top 10 for career points, goals and assists after sparking the Lady Monarchs with a combined 11 points in victories over UMBC and Richmond last week.

The native of Oakton, Va., notched a career-best seven points on four goals and three assists versus UMBC, and then added three goals and an assist against Richmond.  Kimener now ranks 10th all-time in points with 119.  The senior midfielder was named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week for her performance.

NOTABLE:  North Carolina opened Atlantic Coast Conference play with an upset of then-No. 4 Virginia as midfielder Jenn Russell netted three goals and dished out an assist in the 12-8 victory.  The Tar Heels also topped then-No. 21 Denver, 12-6, earlier in the week with the help of Russell’s two goals and assist.  The native of Andover, Mass., received ACC Player of the Week honors for her contributions … Penn has allowed more than four goals just once in five games this season as junior goaltender Emily Szelest has posted a sparkling 3.56 goals against average to lead the nation.  The Quakers’ Division I-leading scoring defense of 3.40 goals per game is more than two goals lower than any other team in the nation.