by Callie Counsellor (@CCounsellor)
While the focus often falls on No. 4 Northwestern's explosive offense, the defense, particularly the goalkeeping of Bridget Bianco, shined in an 18-8 defeat of No. 12 Johns Hopkins on Saturday.
The sophomore allowed only five goals in 55 minutes of play, 12 goals less than the Blue Jays' season average. The final three goals came in the last minute of the game, when back-up goalie Brooke Jones was in the net and the game was already decided.
Bianco also contributed to a stretch of 23 scoreless minutes for Johns Hopkins that extended from the 12:36 mark of the first half to the 19:59 mark of the second. In that time, the Wildcats turned a 4-3 lead into an 11-3 lead. Seniors Erin Fitzgerald and Gabriella Flibotte each scored two goals during that run. Fitzgerald finished with five for the second straight match.
Freshman Lauren Murray also added a goal, the first of her career, on a nifty move in front of the cage. Freshman Jessica Dahldorf and sophomore Jess Carroll also notched the first scores of their NU careers.
Johns Hopkins (5-1, 0-1 ALC) matched Northwestern (5-1, 2-0 ALC) to begin. After Fitzgerald and Ali Cassera gave the Cats a 2-0 lead, the Blue Jays got on the board with a goal form reigning ALC Freshman of the Week, Dene' DiMartino.
Both teams notched two goals each to make it a 4-3 NU lead before Johns Hopkins' offense stalled for 23 minutes. When it finally returned with a goal from junior Sarah Taylor, a one-goal deficit had turned into an eight-goal deficit with 20 minutes left in the game. NU only widened its lead from there.
For the junior and senior on the team, the win avenged the loss that came in the Cats' last game at Homewood Field, a 12-11 defeat on April 16, 2011.
Northwestern will not have to leave the state of Maryland for their next match, a trip to Annapolis to take on No. 15 Navy (6-0, 1-0 Patriot) on Monday. The two teams have met only two times, once in 2011 and once in 2012, both resulting in dominating NU victories.