Lacrosse: Northwestern finds revenge by Lake Michigan

Rohan Nadkarni

Revenge is a dish best served by the lake.

No. 1 Northwestern (14-0, 4-0 ALC) avenged one of its two losses from last season by toppling No. 19 Johns Hopkins (7-6, 0-3) on Sunday. The win came on the heels of a Friday night battle with No. 3 North Carolina (13-2).

The Wildcats defeated the Tar Heels 8-7 at Lakeside Field Friday night in front of a crowd of 1,534.

It took seven minutes for the first goal of the contest, but an offensive display shortly followed. Senior attacker Shannon Smith fired the first volley with an athletic behind-the-net goal to give the Cats the lead at the 23-minute mark. A minute and a half later, North Carolina responded with a score of its own.

NU went up 2-1 at the 18:44 mark, but North Carolina once again tied the game less than three minutes later. The Tar Heels surged forward to 4-2 on the backs of two quick attacks, leaving the home crowd stunned. The Cats would stay close behind through the rest of the first half but couldn’t catch the Tar Heels and entered halftime down 6-4.

The Cats opened the second half with two quick goals of their own, tying the game with 23 minutes and 50 seconds to go after an athletic set of moves put on by junior midfielder Taylor Thornton earned her a free position. She converted the opportunity to square the game at 6.

The Cats allowed the Tar Heels to score only one goal on five second-half shots, allowing the Cats to hold possession and go up 8-6. The late Tar Heels goal cut the lead to one, but after a wild scrum for the ball in the final seconds, NU secured the win.

“It was definitely a very physical game,” Thornton said. “There’s a great rivalry between us. We knew coming in it was going to be a tough game. We have a lot of respect for them.”

Sunday’s game took on a much different tone, but the end result was the same. The Cats scored five of the game’s last six goals to prevail 16-12 over the Blue Jays.

NU started the game scorching on offense, scoring the game’s first six goals to jump out to a 6-0 lead. Junior midfielder Erin Fitzgerald scored a hat trick in the game’s first eight minutes, and Smith added two goals of her own.

The Cats would continue to pad their lead going into the second half. With 27 minutes and 30 seconds to go in the game, NU went ahead 11-6 on sophomore Kara Mupo’s third goal of the game.

With the way the Cats’ defense played in the second half against UNC, the game looked over, but Hopkins mounted a furious comeback.

The Blue Jays scored five straight goals to tie the game at 11 with 20 minutes and 39 seconds to go in the contest. But then NU went back to work, scoring five straight goals of its own, including one more from Fitzgerald and two from freshman Casey Bocklet.

“Lacrosse is a game of runs,” Bocklet said. “You have to keep fighting. You can never give up. Everything depends on the draw and what happens there, so we had to just fight for the draw.”

NU has three games left before the postseason, including an April 21 tilt with conference foe No. 5 Florida, to whom the Cats lost last season.

[email protected]