#2 Northwestern Downs #17 Penn State in ALC Semifinals

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Senior Katrina Dowd (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) proved why she was tabbed the American Lacrosse Conference's Player of the Year, tallying six goals and three assists as second-ranked Northwestern topped 17th-ranked Penn State 15-9 in the ALC semifinals at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats advance to Saturday's championship game to face either Vanderbilt or Florida at 1:00 p.m. CT.

The nine points for Dowd is a career-best and ties senior Danielle Spencer (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) for the team's single-game high this season as Northwestern (16-1) improves to 7-0 all-time in the four-year history of the ALC Championship. Dowd also finished with a game-high five draws as head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller won her 150th game on the Wildcat sideline.

Senior Maggie Bremer (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington) had a homecoming to remember, finishing with a career-best four points off a two goals and two assists. Seven other Wildcats notched a goal on the day with junior Brooke Matthews (Baltimore, Md./Friends School) recording a goal and an assist.

Penn State (10-7) would strike first with just over three minutes gone, but freshman Ali Cassera (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex) would even things up at one at the 21:55 mark, followed by the go-ahead goal from freshman Erin Fitzgerald (Mt. Sinai, N.Y./Mt. Sinai) two and a half minutes later off a feed from Matthews.

After the Nittany Lions tied the game at two, Dowd and Matthews would rattle off a pair of goals just 14 seconds apart to push Northwestern's advantage back to two at 4-2. But as was the case in University Park earlier this season, Penn State wasn't going down with out a fight, netting back-to-back goals of its own and knotting the contest at four midway through the opening half.

Dowd then showed why her nickname is "Miss May," netting three goals during a four-goal Wildcat run to pounce out to an 8-4 lead. Freshman Amanda Macaluso (Smithtown, N.Y./Hauppauge) also converted a free position attempt during the run, helping Northwestern build an 8-5 halftime advantage.

With the wind at their backs in the second half, the Wildcats took advantage early as sophomore Shannon Smith (West Babylon, N.Y./West Babylon) found the back of the net to push Northwestern's lead back to four at 9-5. Spencer then got on the board, extending the lead to 10-5 with just over five minutes burned off the clock.

Penn State would mount one final rally, pulling to within four at 10-6, but Dowd would ensure the 'Cats would live to play another day. She netted two quick goals, including a behind-the-back shot, and would also dish out an assist to Bremer as Northwestern extended its lead to 13-6 with 18 minutes to go.

Dowd would add one more assist as Bremer notched her second goal of the game midway through the closing half, with sophomore Jessica Russo (Port Jefferson, N.Y./St. Anthony's) rounding out the scoring for the Wildcats at the 13:14 mark. All in all, 10 different 'Cats would record at least one point as sophomore Alexandra Frank (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) dished out a pair of assists as well.

Northwestern held comfortable advantages in shots (35-19), ground balls (18-12) and draw controls (19-7) while forcing 15 Penn State turnovers. Spencer added four draws on the afternoon for the Wildcats while junior Colleen Magarity (Oreland, Pa./Germantown Academy), a second team All-ALC selection, led the 'Cats with three ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers. Sophomore goalkeeper Brianne LoManto (Miller Place, N.Y./Rocky Point) added six saves between the pipes.

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2010-05-07



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