by Callie Counsellor (@CCounsellor)
Boston College took the lead. Then No. 4 Northwestern remembered why they are the defending national champions.
After an initial goal by the Eagles within the first three minutes, the Wildcats rattled off the next nine goals to put a stranglehold on the game, eventually winning 17-10.
The victory marked the 200th win of coach Kelly Amonte Hiller’s career, giving her a record of 200-31. She leads all active coaches in winning percentage and is ninth among active coaches in career wins, despite just 11 years of head coaching experience.
As expected, Amonte Hiller downplayed the significance of the achievement.
“I think it’s just a number,” she said. “I think this was a good step forward for us. We did some nice things. We still have a lot to improve on. But it’s very exciting. I think the girls are starting to realize what it takes and come together a little bit so I’m excited about that.”
It was truly a team effort from the Cats to get their coach the milestone win, with 10 different players scoring. Midfielder Erin Fitzgerald led NU with five goals, tying a career high, to give her 143 career scores as she nears the top 10 NU leaders list.
On the other end, freshman Nancy Dunbar took the first shot of her NU career which resulted in the first goal of her career.
Fellow freshman Christina Esposito also notched a score for the Cats, along with two assists. Her goal came in the second half just as the Eagles were beginning to gain some momentum.
“We put some young kids in some leadership roles,” Amonte Hiller said, “but I think they did a good job for the first time out.”
Boston College (2-3, 0-0 ACC) started the scoring before senior Amanda Macaluso put NU (4-1, 1-0 ALC) on the board. Her score began a streak of nine straight goals over the course of 20 minutes for the Cats.
The Eagles scored the last goal of the first half and used that momentum to fuel a slight second half comeback, though they never came within six points of the Cats.
“I think we just got a little too comfortable,” Fitzgerald said, “but we snapped back into it and huddled in the middle of the second half and talked about it. (We said) ‘just get back in it, don’t look at the score, it’s always 0-0.’”
The two teams played even in the second period, each scoring eight goals.
The Cats’ first trip home was a short one, as they will head Baltimore, Md., to take on No. 12 Johns Hopkins on Saturday.