Lacrosse: Ohio State edges Northwestern in overtime to start conference play

Ava Wallace, Sports Editor

Against Ohio State on Sunday, it wasn’t the start of the game that gave Northwestern trouble, it was the end.

In the first game of NU’s last season in the American Lacrosse Conference, senior midfielder Alyssa Leonard grabbed the opening draw to score just 49 seconds in. But the Buckeyes (4-3, 1-0) who ultimately defeated the Wildcats (3-2, 0-1) 11-10 in overtime in Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio State’s Cian Dabrowski, a midfielder who came in off the sidelines for the Buckeyes to notch a hat trick on the afternoon and grab two ground balls, scored the final goal of the game with five minutes left in overtime.NU couldn’t come back after Dabrowski’s goal, despite the fact that it outshot Ohio State 7-2 in overtime.

The loss was the Cats’ first in overtime since the beginning of the 2007 season, and was only coach Kelly Amonte Hiller’s third in her time at NU. At the very least, Amonte Hiller lost to a friendly face — the Buckeyes’ fourth-year head coach Alexis Venechanos was an assistant coach under Amonte Hiller earlier in her career.

Possession wasn’t the problem for the Cats this time around. Despite ruling 50/50 balls –– usually a statistic directly connected to NU’s success –– 21-14, edging Ohio State 13-12 in draw controls and keeping the game within one or two goals throughout its entirety, the Cats were inefficient in the face of Buckeyes’ goalkeeper Tori DeScenza.

Leonard and senior midfielder Kat DeRonda led NU in scoring with 2 goals apiece, though Leonard shot four times and DeRonda six. Sophomore midfielder Kaleigh Craig shot a whopping eight times but scored just once.

That’s not to say the Cats were slacking on offense. NU’s high-powered attack meant 10 different players took shots on DeScenza and eight different players scored.

DeScenza made an impressive 13 saves throughout the game, nine in the second half, when NU shot 15 times. Overall, the Cats outshot the Buckeyes 32-21.

Junior goalkeeper Bridget Bianco continued to step up defensively for NU, contributing nine saves and three ground balls to help the defense stop a relentless Ohio State attack.

The Cats will look to break their two-game losing streak Tuesday against future Big Ten competitor Michigan.

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