Northwestern continued its red-hot start to the 2009 season, blowing past Team Canada 21-5 in an exhibition game of the WomensLax.com Surfside Cup at Rancho Bernando High School.
Coming off a dominating 24-6 victory in the season opener against Denver Friday night, NU picked up right where they left off, netting the first 13 goals of the contest past Canada goalkeeper Kalley Greer, and held a commanding 14-2 halftime advantage. The Wildcats continued to have balanced scoring as 10 different `Cats tallied first half goals, led by two from Nielsen, Dowd and freshman Shannon Smith (West Babylon, N.Y./West Babylon).
The two teams reverted to international rules in the second half, which allowed eight players in the attacking zone rather than seven, but the results were the same as NU outdueled Canada 7-3 in the half to cruise to the 21-5 win. Nielsen led all players with nine points (3 goals, 6 assists) while Bowen added four (3 goals, 1 assist) for the Wildcats.
Northwestern’s defense again came up big, as it held Canada to just four shots in the first half and 10 for the game, while also forcing 27 turnovers. Goalkeeper Morgan Lathrop (Briarcliff, N.Y./The Hackley School) allowed just four goals in 40 minutes of work while making a pair of big saves and causing two Canadian turnovers.
The Wildcat offensive charge continued to be one of the tops in the nation, firing 32 shots and landing 27 on net. Team Canada did hold a 16-12 advantage in draw controls, thanks in large part to six from former Maryland stand-out Dana Dobbie, who lead the Canadians with a pair of goals and an assist. Brooke McKenzie also added a goal and an assist in the loss.
NU now returns home to chilly Evanston to prepare for the rest of its challenging 2009 schedule. The Wildcats take some time off before traveling to Pittsburgh, Pa., to face Duquesne on Feb. 17, followed up with a showdown against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., on Feb. 20.