Lacrosse: Wildcats overcome 7-0 deficit, stun Trojans in overtime


Daily file photo by Brian Lee

Northwestern could not buy a goal, or a stop, early on against the Trojans, falling into a 7-0 hole in the first 23 minutes of the contest. The Wildcats then kicked on the afterburners, using a three-headed scoring attack to eventually overtake Southern California 12-11 in overtime.

Kevin Casey, Sports Editor

For Northwestern, a team that lost nine seniors to graduation, resiliency will be a flash word the entire season, and was it repeatedly tested in a 12-11 overtime victory Saturday.

The No. 5 Cats (1-0) traveled to Los Angeles to face unranked Southern California (0-1) in search of a solid win to start the season, but matters crumbled quickly for the road squad.

The Trojans scored in the first two minutes of the contest, then tacked on goals about every five minutes, putting USC up 4-0 less than 16 minutes into the game. The Trojans then stretched the score to an unfathomable 7-0 margin with seven minutes to play in the first half.

NU has replaced its mass exodus of seniors with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, but youth has its downsides, and it showed in this contest, especially early on.

The Cats lost five of their seven top scorers from last season, and the mix of veterans and newcomers starting on attack and at midfield looked out of sorts in the opening minutes.

NU struggled with fouls early and turnovers as well, losing control of five possessions in the first 13 minutes. The Cats would commit only eight more turnovers in the remaining 47 minutes.

Needing a barrage before the close of the half, NU scored three times to cut the score to 7-3, with senior attack Kara Mupo starting the action and freshmen Selena Lasota and Shelby Fredericks piling on.

The Trojans, though, did exactly what they needed in the opening minutes of the second half, knocking in a pair to up the lead back to 9-3.

The Mupo-Lasota duo would not be denied. The midfielder Lasota scored the next 2 goals as part of a 6-point night. And a pair from Mupo, who had a team-leading 5 goals on the night, moved the Cats to within 2 goals at 10-8 with 10 minutes to play.

With 37 seconds left in regulation, NU finally crawled all the way back, as a Mupo goal knotted the contest at 11. Lasota’s go-ahead score in overtime propelled the Cats to victory.

Despite growing pains, NU’s freshmen contributed a great deal. Eight of the team’s 14 points originated from the new set, and the freshmen took exactly half of the team’s shots on goal.

Turnovers, however, were an issue, and the Trojans blew by the NU defense with their speed for essentially the entire game. A victory from a 7-0 hole is impressive, but if NU wants to entertain thoughts of capturing an eighth national championship, there’s still much work to do.

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