Northwestern (11-9) advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after a 15-7 win over Albany (12-6). This marks the 14th consecutive year that the ‘Cats have advanced past the first round of the tournament under head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller.
Senior Danita Stroup led the Wildcats with six goals, and sophomore Claire Quinn added another four. Earlier in the day, Quinn was awarded All-Region First Team for defense, but Amonte Hiller played her as a midfielder against the Great Danes. Prior to Friday’s match, the sophomore had only tallied three goals in her 32 career games, but she doubled that in the first half alone.
Freshman Megan Kinna also had a multi-goal game, scoring twice, and senior Christina Esposito had a career high five assists. Junior Shelby Fredericks matched her career high with four additional assists on offense.
The Wildcats quickly established a 4-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of play before allowing Albany’s first score with just under 20 minutes left in the first half. After the first Great Dane goal, Northwestern scored four more times in the first half but allowed an additional two scores on defense.
During the second half, the ‘Cats scored another four early and held Albany scoreless for over 17 minutes. Albany cut the lead to 12-4, but back-to-back goals by Stroup put the Wildcats back up by 10. The Great Danes were able to find the net three more times in garbage time, and junior Liza Elder added another goal for Northwestern.
In goal, sophomore goalkeeper Mallory Weisse held Albany to under 10 goals; this was the seventh time this season the ‘Cats held their opponents below double-digit scoring. With her five saves in Friday’s game, Weisse tallied her 160th stop and tied the NU single-season record for saves.
On Sunday, the team will face off against No. 8 Stony Brook at 11 a.m. The Seawolves are 19-1 and went 6-0 in the America East Conference. Stony Brook is currently on a 14-0 streak and beat NU 13-5 in early March.