Lacrosse: Wildcats fall to Penn in overtime after huge comeback

Kaleigh+Craig+jostles+with+an+opponent+for+the+ball.+The+senior+midfielder+scored+4+goals+in+Northwestern%27s+overtime+loss+to+Penn+on+Sunday.

Daily file photo by Sam Schumacher

Kaleigh Craig jostles with an opponent for the ball. The senior midfielder scored 4 goals in Northwestern’s overtime loss to Penn on Sunday.

Will Ragatz, Reporter


Lacrosse


For Northwestern, it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia.

Penn’s Nina Corcoran scored the game-winning goal 58 seconds into overtime and the No. 17 Quakers (7-3, 1-1 Ivy League) upset the No. 14 Wildcats (4-6, 0-1 Big Ten) by a score of 14-13 at Franklin Field on Sunday.

Junior Christina Esposito and senior Kaleigh Craig scored four goals apiece to lead NU. All four of Craig’s goals came in the second half as the Cats mounted a massive comeback to force the sudden-death overtime period.

With 24:35 left in the second half, Penn held a commanding 12-5 lead and all of the game’s momentum. The Quakers had scored five goals in less than five-and-a-half minutes to start the second half, and NU seemed to be heading toward another blowout loss after falling 17-4 to Maryland in its previous outing. That’s when the Cats came to life.

Craig’s first goal sparked a 6-0 run for NU in less than 15 minutes of game time, pulling the Cats within one at 12-11. During the run, NU dominated draw controls and forced several Penn turnovers, not allowing the Quakers to get into the offensive rhythm they had shown in the first 35 minutes of action. Freshman goalie Mallory Weisse, who had struggled for much of the game, made a huge point-blank save to keep the run going with the Cats down 12-10.

The most important player in NU’s comeback, however, may have been sophomore Shelby Fredericks. Fredericks, who led the Cats in draw controls last year, tied a career high with 10 on Sunday. There was a stretch during NU’s 6-0 run when she scored a goal, won a draw, scored again and won another draw, leading to a goal.

Penn finally stopped the bleeding by scoring with 6:22 left to make the score 13-11, but Craig answered with her fourth goal and junior Catie Ingrilli calmly tied the game a minute later. In all, it was an 8-1 run for the Cats to end the second half and force overtime.

Unfortunately for NU, the extra period didn’t go as planned.

The Cats won the opening draw in overtime, but turned it over shortly afterwards. Penn got a tough ground ball pickup and raced into the offensive end, where Corcoran beat Weisse from close range, sending the Quakers and their home fans into a raucous celebration.

It was another tough loss for NU, which opened the season as the No. 5 team in the country but is now just 2-6 in games against ranked opponents. It was the third loss in four games for the Cats and their second overtime defeat in as many attempts.

Esposito scored NU’s first three goals to start the game, and the Cats took a 4-3 lead with 10:10 left until halftime. However, the first half was dominated by Penn’s Iris Williamson. The senior scored all four of her goals in the first 30 minutes as the Quakers closed the half on a 4-0 run to take a 7-4 lead into the break.

NU will look to bounce back when it faces Michigan on Thursday in Evanston. That matchup will be the first of four straight home games against unranked opponents for the Cats.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @WillRagatz