Lacrosse: Northwestern uses impressive second half to end regular season at .500

Dan Waldman, Assistant Sports Editor


Sophomore midfielder Selena Lasota lined up at the draw circle with just over 25 minutes remaining in the team’s most important game of the season. Ohio State had just scored 4 straight goals and tied the game at 11. Northwestern was on the verge of blowing the game and diminishing almost any chance it had of making the NCAA Tournament.

But Lasota wasn’t going to let that happen.

The sophomore stared down the goal as the referee blew the whistle. She knocked down the draw control to herself and sprinted down the field, dodging past a swarm of Buckeye defenders. Lasota cranked back her stick and ripped a shot past the Ohio State goalie for her 4th goal of the game, but had no intentions of easing up.

No. 15 NU (8-8, 3-2 Big Ten) claimed a critical win over No. 19 Ohio State (11-5, 2-3 Big Ten) in the team’s regular-season finale. The Cats needed to come away with a win in Columbus to finish the season with a .500 record. Now, NU must win at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament to be eligible for the NCAA Tournament in May.

The Cats started the game trading goals with the Buckeyes. But with 19:04 remaining in the first half, Lasota sparked a 4-goal run for NU with additional goals coming from senior attacker Kaleigh Craig and freshman attacker Leighton Yenor. The three combined for 15 of the team’s 22 goals in the game.

Craig said the team focused on having a multitude of options on offense, as it was something NU struggled with in its loss to Penn State last weekend.

“We definitely wanted to have a bunch of scoring threats,” Craig said. “We’ve been lacking in that, especially last game, and we really needed to pick that up. The more we work together the better we do on offense — it’s showed in other games too.”

But following the Cats’ scoring stretch, Ohio State chipped its way back into the game. The Buckeyes’ attackers Cian Dabrowski and Molly Wood combined for 7 goals in the game and helped to bring the team within 3 goals going into halftime.

Ohio State scored 4 goals in less than 5 minutes to begin the second half to tie the game at 11. But Lasota took over.

“It was just coming out like we were 10 goals down,” Lasota said. “We knew that we really had to fight and Ohio State is a really great team. We knew we had to put on the gas when we were in that back-and-forth situation.”

Lasota followed the Buckeyes’ scoring streak by scoring 5 more goals of her own. The sophomore already had scored a hat trick in the first half and tallied her 7th goal of the game with 19:15 left in the game.

Her scoring outbreak opened a 16-11 Cats lead and the team never looked back. NU went on to score 6 more times, giving the team a season-high 22 goals.

Coach Kelly Amonte Hiller pulled Lasota after the sophomore sniper scored her 8th goal, and the program’s leader watched as her team cruised to a commanding victory in the final game of the season.

The Cats will now gear up for the Big Ten Tournament hosted in Evanston next weekend. NU will then face a must-win situation in the first round, but for now Amonte Hiller said the team is just enjoying the victory.

“I don’t think of it in the big scheme of things,” Amonte Hiller said.”We’re happy about the performance and we’re going to enjoy it for the bus ride home and then we’re going to get back to work. We still have a lot to prove and we have a big game against probably either Rutgers or Michigan depending on their game tomorrow.”

Correction: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article misstated the score of the game at one point in the second half. The correct score is 16-11. The Daily regrets the error.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @dan_waldman