Lacrosse still undefeated, with big game against UNC ahead

It's been more of the same from NU's lacrosse team. The Wildcats are still undefeated. They're still ranked No. 1. (One thing that is different are the new locker rooms, which you can check out here.)

But Friday, they'll face their toughest challenge of the season so far, with a highly anticipated home matchup against No. 3 North Carolina. NU and UNC have squared off in the Final Four the last two years, as well as the 2009 NCAA title game, with the Wildcats winning each time. Last year, NU needed OT to get an 11-10 win over the Tar Heels in the semifinals. UNC did get a regular season win against the 'Cats in 2010, ending NU's 58-game home winning streak.

UNC (13-1) comes into the game hot, having beaten No. 7 Duke and No. 3 Maryland in their last two games. But NU, the lone unbeaten team in Division 1 at 12-0, is also on a roll. After a narrow 13-12 OT win two weeks ago against No. 14 Ohio State at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., the Wildcats cruised past No. 12 Penn State, 14-7, and No. 8 Penn,14-6, on the road last weekend.

The game could be a defensive struggle, as UNC leads the NCAA in fewest goals allowed per game, while NU is third.

(By the way, check out the video above on Wildcats head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, which was made as NU's entry into the Title IX Trailblazer contest.)

Senior attack Shannon Smith continues to shine for NU. She's got 43 goals on the season, good for fifth in the NCAA in goals per game. Junior attack Erin Fitzgerald has chipped in 31 goals.

On the other end of the field, goalkeeper Brianne LoManto leads the NCAA in goals-against-average, at 6.35. She was just named the American Lacrosse Conference's Defensive Player of the Week.

For North Carolina, sophomore attack Abbey Friend leads the team with 43 goals, while senior midfielder Laura Zimmerman has 33 goals. Goalkeeper Lauren Maksym has a 6.94 GAA.

Following the game, the Wildcats will next take on No. 19 Johns Hopkins at home on Sunday. JHU last year dealt NU one of its two losses, so I'm sure the Wildcats will be looking to make amends.

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