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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Lacrosse: Surviving without a superstar

Senior attacker Hilary Bowen leads NU with 48 goals in 11 games this season. When she went down in the
opening minutes of Saturday’s win over California, NU upped its efforts, registering 21 goals in 46 shots.
Sean Collins Walsh/The Daily Northwestern

It was less than three minutes into the game, and I was filled with terror. Northwestern’s goal-scoring juggernaut Hilary Bowen was on the ground and not getting up. The only thing I could think of while she was clutching her knee was how Tom Brady walked off the field following his season-ending knee injury last year.

And how closely Bowen mimicked that image.

Like the terrible movie “Vantage Point,” there were several perspectives – besides my inner fan – on the injury.

The crowd was silent while she lay on the field, hoping that cut to the right of the fan would not be her last as a Wildcat.

Her pragmatic coach, Kelly Amonte Hiller, said the first thought in her head was who does she have to put in.

Her teammates were afraid, not just for their season, but also for their friend.

“When I saw her go down and holding her knee, I was very worried,” senior midfielder Hannah Nielsen said. “To see someone like her go down, it really hits close to home. She didn’t deserve that at all.”

Of course she didn’t. And there was no one to get angry at. No cheap shot. No muddy field. Just FieldTurf and human physiology, neither of which care about her team-best 48 goals or her 51-game goal scoring streak, which sadly ended Saturday.

But then, something happened. The previously quiet Danielle Spencer, who was held scoreless and registered two assists in Friday’s win over Duke, began to play out of her mind. The junior had 10 shots, five goals and six total points, including the goal on the possession resulting from the free shot on Bowen’s injury.

“We had extra focus,” Spencer said. “We know that without her we need to play that much better. We need that extra focus on the attack.”

Luckily for the Cats, California is not Duke or Syracuse, or really a top-flight program, and NU was able to take its frustrations out on the Golden Bears. Frustrations that resulted in 46 shots and 21 goals.

While injuries are inherently bad news, especially when they occur to such a high-caliber player, there is a silver lining for this team.

The Cats have yet to be seriously challenged this year. Last season, NU had close matches against Georgetown and Penn State to keep it focused through the regular season. The smallest margin of victory for the Cats so far this year is five. Five.

Even with one of the most dangerous players in the country writhing in pain on the sidelines, Amonte Hiller was able to show that the loss of one superstar actually makes the team better.

Bowen’s absence gave fellow senior Casey Donohoe her best offensive game in over a month and further showcased Amonte Hiller’s freshman and sophomore classes with playing time.

Despite my initial reaction, the Cats actually have something to play for this season, regardless of how serious Bowen’s injury turns out to be, meaning they might be scarier than before Bowen went down. And they were plenty scary against Duke. As Nielsen said, they are playing for HilBo from here on out.

Assistant sports editor Brian Regan is a McCormick senior. He can be reached at brianregan2007

@u.northwestern.edu.

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Lacrosse: Surviving without a superstar