Woman of the Year: Hannah Nielsen

Jimmy Mitchell

Consider this: Midfielder Hannah Nielsen recorded her 129th career assist in the American Lacrosse Championship against Vanderbilt on May 4.

The assist – a quick pass to sophomore Katrina Dowd – broke current assistant coach Lindsey Munday’s record and put Nielsen at the top of the record books at Northwestern.

What is most remarkable about the nature of Nielsen’s accomplishment is that she is only a junior and has an entire season remaining to continue building her legacy as a Wildcat.

One of Nielsen’s most impressive performances of the 2008 season came in NU’s 19-10 victory over Boston University on March 9, when the junior recorded four goals and four assists.

Coach Kelly Amonte Hiller frequently refers to Nielsen as the “quarterback” of the Cats’ offensive attack, and the description seems apt. Commonly positioned behind the opponent’s goal, Nielsen can often be seen with the ball, looking for holes in the defense to exploit.

No stranger to big games (she was a member of the 2005 World Champion Australian national team), the junior from Adelaide, Australia, excelled in the NCAA tournament and was a big part of the Cats’ run at a fourth-consecutive national championship.

When Penn closed the NU lead to 8-6 in the final minutes of the title game, Nielsen scored her 50th goal of the season and effectively sealed the win for NU.

For her impressive performance this season, Nielsen was named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy as well as a first-team All-American, and she is Daily Sports’ Woman of the Year.

Oh by the way, she also won the Tewaarton Trophy Thursday. So she is the nation’s MVP as well.