Cirrincione, New Trier shut out Lake Forest for IHSA championship

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Cirrincione, New Trier shut out Lake Forest for IHSA championship

By Matt Harness
YourSeason.com
Eileen Harris admitted playing at the United Center for the first time overwhelmed even her.

The states player of the year said it took one period for her and her New Trier teammates to get comfortable with their surroundings in Fridays Blackhawk Cup state final.

Morgan Crane broke the scoreless tie with her team-best 42nd goal midway through the second period, and top-seeded New Trier made it hold up in its 1-0 win over defending state champion Lake Forest. It was the Trevians first title since 2009 and seventh overall.

We needed to get that one goal to make us relax and get into a rhythm, said Harris, who will play at Amherst College next season.

Shortly after the Scouts killed New Triers power play, Crane skated free before sending the puck past Lindsay Projansky with 7:17 to go in the second period.

Morgans one of our sharpest players, and we always look to her in big games, said Harris, one of eight seniors and a two-year varsity member. As a freshman, shes really carried her weight. I was just sad I was not out there with them for that goal.

Lake Forest applied pressure in the third period, but the Trevians beat back the effort. New Trier (29-3-5) earned its third win over the Scouts (26-7-4) this season and ended up unbeaten in five games against Lake Forest.

New Trier outshot Lake Forest 22-12 in the game. Senior Lexie Cirrincione notched the shutout in goal.

Lot of posts, Lake Forest senior forward Jessie Gould said. We needed more shots. Its pretty upsetting. Yeah, its frustrating.

Gould ended her career by playing in three consecutive state championships, taking home the title last spring.

I was really blessed, she said. I had great coaches, great teammates. It was an honor to be part of this program. Truly amazing.

Id love to do it again.

Hawkeyes going to Outback Bowl for fifth time, taking on Florida

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USA TODAY

Hawkeyes going to Outback Bowl for fifth time, taking on Florida

Iowa is going back to the Outback Bowl.

Yes, for the fifth time in the last 13 seasons, the Hawkeyes will wrap their campaign with a trip to Tampa and an appearance in the Outback Bowl. And for the third time, their opponent there will be the Florida Gators. That game kicks at noon on Jan. 2.

Iowa and Florida met in the Outback Bowl to conclude the 2003 and 2005 seasons, splitting those two matchups.

This time around, the Hawkeyes are coming off an 8-4 regular season, a disappointing follow up to their 12-2 campaign a season ago that started off a perfect 12-0 before postseason losses in the Big Ten title game and the Rose Bowl.

Kirk Ferentz has led his team to a bowl appearance in 14 of his 18 seasons, though Iowa has lost the last four of those games, without a bowl win since taking down Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl.

Iowa is 2-2 in its four previous Outback Bowl appearances, beating Florida, losing to Florida, beating South Carolina and losing to LSU.

As for the Gators, they own an 8-4 record, as well, after falling to Alabama in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game. Florida is known for its sluggish offense, one of the lowest-scoring teams in the country.

Start spreadin' the news: Northwestern to face Pitt in Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium

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USA TODAY

Start spreadin' the news: Northwestern to face Pitt in Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium

Start spreadin' the news.

Northwestern is heading to New York for its bowl game this season, specifically the Bronx, where it will battle Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Though it isn't your typically warm bowl destination, the baseball-stadium setting should be pretty fantastic. The game will be played at 1 p.m. on Dec. 28.

The Wildcats reached bowl eligibility with their sixth win in the regular-season finale against Illinois. Northwestern is heading to back-to-back bowl games after missing out on the postseason in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014.

This is just the 13th-ever bowl trip for the Cats, though it's their seventh in 11 seasons under Pat Fitzgerald. Northwestern has a 1-5 record under Fitzgerald in the previous six bowl games, though that win is one of just two all-time bowl victories by the program.

This season started slowly for the Cats, who lost upsetting home games to Illinois State and Western Michigan and started 1-3. But Northwestern turned things around with back-to-back road wins over Iowa and Michigan State and finished 6-6. The Cats' offense has been particularly effective this season compared to seasons past. Wide receiver Austin Carr took home Big Ten Receiver of the Year honors and is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award after leading the conference in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. Running back Justin Jackson was the league's leading rusher until getting surpassed by just a couple yards by both Wisconsin's Corey Clement and Penn State's Saquon Barkley, who both competed in Saturday night's Big Ten Championship Game, adding to their respective rushing totals.

Pitt has had a pretty noteworthy season. Despite having four losses, it beat two teams that finished ranked in the top five of the College Football Playoff rankings: No. 2 Clemson and No. 5 Penn State. The Panthers are coached by former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.