NU hosts upstart BC on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament in a tale of contrasting programs. While
On paper, the No. 2-seeded Wildcats should be greatly favored against the unseeded Eagles. In nearly every team statistical category — goals scored per game, goals against per game, shots, ground ball controls and draw controls — the Wildcats are the superior team. But as we saw in NU’s loss to unranked Johns Hopkins earlier this year, anything can happen.
Game time is 3 p.m. CT Saturday, and if you’re in the
NU and BC didn’t meet in the regular season this year, but they did scrimmage in suburban
The Wildcats and Eagles did play three common opponents this year:
BC, which is ranked No. 13 in the IWLCA coaches poll, is led by senior midfielder Kristin Igoe (42 goals, 17 assists), and junior attacker Brittany Wilton (39 goals, 16 assists). On defense, senior Jill Rekart is a stalwart, and in goal, senior Sheila Serafino is the starter (8.94 goals against average).
For the Wildcats, junior attacker and Tewaaraton Trophy finalist Shannon Smith leads the way offensively with 68 goals and 38 assists. Her 106 points are tops in the NCAA. Sophomore attacker/midfielder Erin Fitzgerald is second on the team in scoring with 32 goals and 6 assists. On defense, sophomore Taylor Thornton, also a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist, is the team’s best athlete, and senior Colleen Magarity is a steady presence. In goal, junior Brianne "Breezy" LoManto has an 8.45 goals against average.
The game could very well be decided in the draw circle. NU leads the NCAA with 16.32 draw controls per game, winning 65.8 percent of all its draws. Freshman Alyssa Leonard, who has tied a school record with three 10-draw control performances this year, ranks fifth in the NCAA with 4.16 draw controls per game. Junior Alex Frank ranks fifth in the NCAA with 3.11.
BC associate head coach Acacia Walker was an NU assistant from 2005-2008 under head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, adding an interesting wrinkle to the match-up.
Winner of the game will advance to the quarterfinals to meet the winner of Sunday’s match between No. 7-seeded