Saturday, May 19, 2007

Wildcat Winners

So far, it's been a fine and dandy weekend in Evanston. Softball has rolled in wins over Wright State and Illinois State, setting themselves up nicely to clinch a super-regionals berth with one win tomorrow.

Lacrosse is headed to their third consecutive final four in Philadelphia next weekend. They took care of the Syracuse Orange 14-9 today, thanks to a dominant second half. Next up? Penn.

What a beautiful day in Evanston...and what a wonderful day to be a Northwestern fan.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wildcat Central...


You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard that Northwestern softball had received the overall 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Vaulting from a #6 national ranking to a #2 seed is stunning to me, but I have to credit the Wildcat coaching staff--particularly Kate Drohan--for making this happen. Drohan makes no mystery of her philosophy: Schedule the toughest non-conference opponents possible, and beat them. She and her Wildcats did just that and were rewarded with an eye-opening tournament seed.

In all likelihood, Northwestern will host both regionals and super-regionals over the next two weekends, making a return to the WCWS is a distinct possibility. That's not to say it's going to be a cake walk. Illinois State is dangerous in this first round, and any super regional opponent will pose a threat (remember UMass?). Nonetheless, the selection committee has granted NU a fairly smooth path to Oklahoma City, and I hope the 'Cats seize on this opportunity.


Kelly Amonte Hiller's crew just keeps on chugging. NU blew past Holy Cross in their sweet 16 home matchup yesterday and will face Syracuse at home this coming Saturday in the elite eight. The 'Cats have already faced and defeated the Orange this season, but it was a pretty close game. Northwestern only won by a 10-7 margin, and Syracuse really played them pretty tough. I still anticipate a W for the lax team, which would send them to their third straight final four--this time in Philadelphia. The quest for a 3-peat is on!


Northwestern's much-maligned hoops team received some terrific news this week when two highly-rated high school recruits gave Bill Carmody verbal commitments to join the 'Cats for the 2008-09 campaign. The two high school juniors, John Shurna (of Glenbard West) and Nick Fruendt (of Batavia), are considered to be blue-chip players on the Illinois circuit. These commitments have gotten quite a bit of favorable press for Northwestern around the area which may help entice other local studs to take the purple plunge. Either way, Bill Carmody and his staff (special props to Tavaras Hardy) appear to be steadily improving their local recruiting, and one has to believe that better days are ahead. Let's hope that the next generation of Wildcats will be the one that guides us to the promised land.

Anyway, it's been an exhilarating few days here in Evanston...and it's tough not to get caught up in the excitement. NU spring sports fans may be making a few trips back and forth between the lakefill field and Sharon J. this weekend..