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Lacrosse: Wildcats look for redemption against Fighting Irish

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Lacrosse: Wildcats look for redemption against Fighting Irish

Kara Mupo stick checks an opposing player. The senior is second on Northwestern with 27 goals.

Kara Mupo stick checks an opposing player. The senior is second on Northwestern with 27 goals.

Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Kara Mupo stick checks an opposing player. The senior is second on Northwestern with 27 goals.

Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Kara Mupo stick checks an opposing player. The senior is second on Northwestern with 27 goals.

Claire Hansen, Reporter

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Lacrosse


On the heels of a disappointing loss to Stony Brook on Sunday, No. 7 Northwestern (9­4, 2­1 Big Ten) looks for redemption in South Bend, Indiana, on Thursday against No. 10 Notre Dame (9­5, 3­3 ACC).

Thursday’s game will wrap up a 3­-game away series and is the last before the Wildcats finish out the regular season with a pair of home matches.

And while the Cats come into Thursday’s matchup licking their wounds from Sunday, Notre Dame has momentum off a big overtime win against Syracuse and a decisive victory against Michigan.

“Coming off a loss, we really wanted to reevaluate how we are doing and get better,” coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. “Each individual is focusing in on what they need to do to be successful.”

The numbers certainly don’t appear to be in the Cats’ favor. NU is 4­4 against ranked opponents and 0­2 against ranked teams on the road, but the Cats have not lost back-­to-­back games this season. Furthermore, all four of their losses to ranked teams have been against foes ranking in the top 5 of this week’s IWLCA poll.

Their loss against Stony Brook just may turn out to be the driving force needed to defeat the Fighting Irish.

“(Our mindset is) aggressive and competitive and all out,” senior goalkeeper Bridget Bianco said. “It’s do or die.”

And, in a way, it is do or die. The Cats will need all the momentum they can get before heading into the inaugural Big Ten Tournament, where — if all goes right — they will almost certainly have to face No. 1 Maryland.

To win against the Fighting Irish, however, the Cats can’t turn the ball over the way they did against Stony Brook. Five NU turnovers led to five consecutive Stony Brook goals in the first half.

Bianco said that in the end, it’ll come down to how well NU can execute the fundamentals.

“Paying attention to all the details — throwing, catching, ground balls — it doesn’t have to be the big plays,” the senior said. “It’s all the small plays that lead to the bigger picture. I think if we focus the small things, the bigger things will happen.”

Freshman standout Selena Lasota, who leads the team with 48 goals on the season, agreed with her teammate.

“Little mistakes when you play good teams, like Stony Brook, turn into big mistakes,” she said.

Draw controls continue to be a focus for the Cats. Even in their loss to the Seawolves, the Cats managed to grab almost twice as many draws as their opponent. The trick against the Fighting Irish will not only be snagging the ball on the circle, but maintaining possession afterwards.

“We need to continue to do well at the draw control,” Amonte Hiller said. “We’ve been gaining momentum in that area, and that’s going to be so crucial. When you play a top tier team the possession is very valuable.”

And while Amonte Hiller describes the Fighting Irish as “very athletic and very aggressive,” it’s nothing that the Cats can’t match up to.

This week, Lasota joined teammates Bianco and senior Kara Mupo on the Tewaaraton Award Watch List. The award is the most prestigious accolade in college lacrosse.

If the Cats play to their potential on Thursday, they should leave South Bend with another tally in the win column.

“For us, we need to do our thing and do it well,” Amonte Hiller said.

Email: clairehansen2018@u.northwestern.edu
Tweet: @clairechansen

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