April 2, 2009

Courtesy of Duke

DURHAM, N.C. – The No. 4 Duke women’s lacrosse team continues its three-game road trip Friday night, traveling to face the four-time defending national champions, top-ranked and currently unbeaten Northwestern. Game time is set for 8 p.m. EST at Northwestern’s Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill. Live stats will be available on GoDuke.com after the start of the contest.

Friday night’s game will pit the nation’s most formidable offenses against one another, as the Wildcats and Blue Devils have the first and second most points in Division I with 276 and 269, respectively.

Both squads also have several players amongst the top in the nation in individual categories. Northwestern’s Hannah Nielsen – the 2008 Tewaaraton Trophy winner – leads the nation in points with 72 and assists with 37. She recently tied Maryland alum Jen Adams for the most assists in women’s lacrosse history with 178 for her career. The Wildcats’ Hilary Bowen is currently fifth in the NCAA with 53 points and second in goals-per-game with 4.30.

The Wildcats sit at 10-0 and are beating opponents by an average of more than 14 goals per game. They have maintained their No. 1 ranking for the duration of the season to date, while their closest margin of victory was a five-goal win over North Carolina, 12-7, on March 2.

Duke’s Caroline Cryer stands at 10th in the nation in points (48), while Carolyn Davis is 12th with 47. Megan Del Monte is 12th with 21 assists.

The Blue Devils (9-2, 2-1) have lost their last three contests against the Wildcats, but held an 8-6 lead over Northwestern at halftime in last season’s contest. Duke then succumbed to a late run as NU came away with the 15-11 win in Durham. Northwestern leads the all-time series, 4-2.

Duke will be going up against its seventh ranked opponent in 2009, with a record of 4-2 against teams ranked in the national polls. That includes a 3-2 mark against teams in the top-10.

In Duke’s last contest, the squad came away with a hard-fought 13-12 victory over tenth-ranked Virginia in Charlottesville. The Blue Devils’ Sarah Bullard tallied the game-winner with 11 seconds left on the clock to give Duke the road victory. Both Davis and junior Lindsay Gilbride tallied four goals apiece to pace the Blue Devils. In Northwestern’s last contest, the Wildcats downed UMass by a score of 22-5 in Amherst, Mass. Nielsen had fours goals and four assists for eight points to lead the way.

The trio of Nielsen (35g, 37a), Bowen (43g, 10a), and Spencer (33g, 9a) have each surpassed the 40 point mark on the season. Netminder Morgan Lathrop is allowing just 4.96 goals per game behind a stingy Northwestern defense, while posting 55 saves and allowing just 41 through the first 10 games.

Duke is led into the contest by Cryer’s 49 points (29g, 19a), followed by Davis’ 37 points (27g, 10a) and 41 points (32g, 9a). Davis has gone 32 straight games with a goal and a point, and ranks seventh among active players in goals with 171 for her career. Cryer has 153 to rank 11th.

Duke will return from Evanston but won’t be home for long, departing to round out the three-game road swing next weekend in Chestnut Hill, Mass., facing ACC rival Boston College next Sat., April 11, at 1 p.m.