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    No. 6 Irish Head To Windy City For Showdown With No. 1 Northwestern

    FIGHTING IRISH Junior goalie Ellie Hilling appears all over the NCAA and BIG EAST leader boards in several categories.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Junior goalie Ellie Hilling appears all over the NCAA and BIG EAST leader boards in several categories.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    April 24, 2012

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Winners of four straight games, including two in a row versus ranked foes, the No. 6 Notre Dame women's lacrosse team heads to Evanston, Ill., on Wednesday for a showdown with the top-ranked Northwestern Wildcats. The top-10 matchup gets underway at 8 p.m. (ET) (7 p.m. CT) at Lakeside Field.

    The Irish (12-2, 5-2 BIG EAST), who have already clinched the No. 3 seed in next weekend's BIG EAST Tournament, will look to hand the Wildcats (14-1, 4-1 ALC) their second consecutive loss. Northwestern suffered their first setback of the season at home on Saturday to No. 5 Florida, 8-7.

    Notre Dame enters the contest sporting a four-game winning streak, including wins over then-No. 18 Vanderbilt (12-11) and then-No. 12 Georgetown (7-6, 2OT). For their efforts in these two wins, junior goalkeeper Ellie Hilling and senior midfielder Megan Sullivan were named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.

    Hilling has been especially clutch for the Irish in recent weeks, as she racked up 29 saves in the two wins over the Commodores and Hoyas. She leads the BIG EAST in saves a game (9.38), is second in save percentage (.473) and is fourth in GAA (10.57).  The .473 save percentage puts her 15th in the country, while the 10.57 GAA mark puts her 28th in the land. She is also 14th in saves per game (9.38) and 25th in saves (122). In earning the win over the Hoyas, the Rochester, N.Y., product is now second in school history with 32 wins, just seven from tying Erin Goodman for first place.  

    Continuing to lead the Irish in assists and points in senior Tewaaraton Award candidate Maggie Tamasitis (19G, 50A), who needs just one point against the Wildcats to break the school mark of 51 consecutive games with a point. The Boyertown, Pa., native has scored at least one point in every game since the first game of her sophomore year against Hofstra. Tamasitis continues to sit in a tie for second in the country in both assists (50) and assists per game (3.57) and is tied for 18th in points (69) and eighth in points per game (4.93).


     

     

    On defense, a pair of Irish defenders have caused issues for opponents all year. Sophomore Margaret Smith is ninth in the country in caused turnovers a game (2.08), while freshman Barbara Sullivan sits 25th (1.57). Both have impressive stat lines of 31 GB, 42 DC and 27 CT for Smith and 30 GB, 20 DC and 22 CT for Sullivan.    

    Northwestern has been ranked No. 1 all year, and is playing its 12th ranked foe of the 2012 campaign. The Wildcats sport four 30-plus point scorers including the reigning Tewaaraton Award winner Shannon Smith (50G, 16A). Erin Fitzgerald has chipped in with 39 goals, while Casey Brocklet leads the team with 20 assists.

    On defense Taylor Thornton has scooped up 35 ground balls, Alyssa Leonard has 58 draw controls and Alex Frank has 26 caused turnover, as they each lead the team in their respective categories. The squad also has one of the nation's leading goalies in Brianne LoManto, who leads the nation with a slim 6.91 GAA.

    The top-10 matchup can be followed in one of three ways. As always, a link for live stats is available on UND.com. Fans that are on Twitter can follow @NU_SportsLIVE for live updates or they can pay for a subscription and watch the game online here

    --ND--

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