Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

50° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement

Lacrosse: Hilary Bowen injury bucks lucky trend

Senior Hilary Bowen has scored a team-high 48 goals and has 11 assists in 12 games this season. Her 58-game point streak ended Saturday when she left the game with a leg injury. She will meet with her doctor Friday and may miss the rest of the season. Sean Collins Walsh/The Daily Northwestern file photo

During the Wildcats’ run of four straight national titles, they have been fortunate in staying healthy.

Senior stars Hannah Nielsen, Hilary Bowen, Morgan Lathrop and former standouts Kristen Kjellman and Aly Josephs have missed just two games in their Northwestern careers. The only significant injury has been to Meredith Frank, who missed the first three contests last season after tearing her Achilles’ tendon during the fall.”Up until this point, we’ve been pretty lucky,” Nielsen said.

That changed two minutes into last Saturday’s game against California, when Bowen’s left knee gave out while she was in the process of making a cut on the right side of the fan. The senior collapsed to the turf and was helped off the field to the sidelines, where she was put on crutches.

Bowen is scheduled to meet with her doctor Friday to confirm the extent of her injuries and determine her status for the remainder of the season.

In the meantime, No. 1 NU has a battle with No. 17 Penn State on Sunday to concentrate on. The Nittany Lions gave the Cats all kinds of trouble last year. They lost in Evanston by only one goal during the regular season, 13-12, and put up a valiant effort in the ALC playoffs. Penn State tied the game early in the second half before falling 15-7.

“Maybe we underestimated them last year,” Nielsen said. “They’re a very scrappy team that wins 50-50 battles.”

Bowen is tied for second on the team in both draw controls and ground ball pickups, so replacing that production will be almost as important as finding someone to pick up the scoring slack.

To compensate, coach Kelly Amonte Hiller has made offensive adjustments all week, shuffling personnel around to see who stands out. While certain players have separated themselves, the team as a whole has taken its game to another level.

“Meredith Frank has stepped up a lot so far,” Amonte Hiller said. “She’s definitely one that’s extremely noticeable. But I think it (has been) a force of people, and that’s what we need.”

The younger players are being challenged to mature quickly to help fill Bowen’s void. Recently, the Cats have been starting three freshmen: attackers Shannon Smith and Alexandra Frank, and defender Lacey Vigmostad. They are zoned in on taking advantage of their increased responsibilities.

“We’re more focused now than what we were,” said Smith, who has registered a hat trick in three of the past four games. “We have to work harder, go out there and focus on the little things.”

Amonte Hiller was encouraged by how her squad bounced back Saturday. Historically, NU has responded well to unanticipated challenges, such as the injury to Frank and the late-season loss to then-No. 5 Pennsylvania.

“Every year, you have adversity, whether it’s losing a game or an injury or off-the-field (issues),” the four-time ALC Coach of the Year said. “This is just one thing we’re going to have to overcome.”

Bowen’s leadership on the field makes her even more valuable. She also plays well under pressure, which her back-to-back NCAA tournament MVPs prove, and attracts extra attention from opposing defenses, freeing up her teammates.

Fortunately for the Cats, Bowen’s presence will remain strong even if her goal-scoring days are over.

“She’s still going to be leading this team,” Amonte Hiller said. “Even in practices this week, she’s been out on the field, telling the people who have been put in her spot what to do and mentoring them. That’s going to go a long way.”

[email protected]

More to Discover
Activate Search
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Lacrosse: Hilary Bowen injury bucks lucky trend