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

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

The Daily Northwestern


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Women’s Lacrosse: Second half surge leads to victory

Northwestern found itself in an unfamiliar place against No. 7 Duke Sunday in Durham, N.C., where the team had never won. The Wildcats trailed an opponent at the half for the first time this year, and the the two-goal deficit facing coach Kelly Amonte Hiller’s squad was the largest of the season.

But not even a rare dose of adversity could prevent the top-ranked Cats from winning their school-record 32nd straight game, as NU outscored its archrival 9-3 in the second half on its way to a 15-11 victory.

“I thought we played a really good second half,” senior defender Christy Finch said. “In the first half we were just getting used to (Duke) and we let them come back when we shouldn’t have, but we stepped up in the second half and pulled out a win.”

NU (11-0) got off to a hot start with four quick goals, two each by sophomore Danielle Spencer and junior Hilary Bowen. But Duke (7-5) surged back with an 8-2 run before halftime, out-shooting the Cats 18-12 in the first period.

The Cats entered the break trailing for the first time since the 2006 national championship game.

NU pulled within one on a free-position shot by Bowen just more than a minute into the second period.

“It was definitely something we haven’t had to deal with in a while,” junior Hannah Nielsen said of the deficit. “But from the second Hilary scored the first goal of the second half, we felt we could win the game and we did from there.”

The Cats tied the game at eight on a goal by junior Meredith Frank, and the momentum had turned in their favor.

“There was definitely a change in energy,” junior goalie Morgan Lathrop said. “We started to get 50-50 balls and draw controls. We weren’t getting that many in the first half and we started to get them. We had more possession, and when the other team doesn’t have the ball, it’s a lot easier to score.”

The Cats held the Blue Devils scoreless for a 14-minute stretch in the second half while scoring five goals to put the game out of reach.

Balance was crucial for NU in the second half, as five different players scored. Bowen and Nielsen led the team’s offensive attack, combining for six goals and five assists.

Both players currently have 33-game point streaks, and Bowen has scored a goal in 29 straight games.

Sophomore Danielle Spencer added three goals on the day. Frank finished with three goals of her own to go along with six draw controls in the second half, which gave the Cats a much-needed boost to overcome the Blue Devils’ lead.

While the Cats’ offensive prowess erased Duke’s lead, the stellar play of Lathrop kept NU in the game. The junior stopped three free-position shots and finished the day with 10 saves on 21 shots.

“It builds confidence on any day to make saves, but people have been stepping up all season,” Lathrop said. “Today our defense played really strong in the second half and made it easy for me.”

Now that the Cats have their first come-from-behind win under their belt, Nielsen said the team is prepared for anything.

“The season just gets harder and harder from here on out,” she said. “It’s really a good experience to play in tough games because you never know what’s going to happen down the road. We don’t want to be in that position again, but we know we can come back from behind.”

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Women’s Lacrosse: Second half surge leads to victory