The Daily Northwestern

Lacrosse: Wildcats falter in overtime, pick up first loss of the season

Christina Esposito runs past an opponent. The senior scored four goals in Northwestern’s loss to Colorado.

Christina Esposito runs past an opponent. The senior scored four goals in Northwestern’s loss to Colorado.

Daily file photo by Keshia Johnson

Daily file photo by Keshia Johnson

Christina Esposito runs past an opponent. The senior scored four goals in Northwestern’s loss to Colorado.

Dan Waldman, Assistant Sports Editor

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After an overtime thriller in Boulder on Sunday, Northwestern is undefeated no more.

The No. 9 Wildcats (2-1) had a fresh opportunity to avoid an upset when Colorado’s Miranda Stinson missed a go-ahead goal in the closing seconds of regulation. But the unranked Buffaloes (1-0) scored less than a minute into overtime to seal an 11-10 victory and hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season.

NU couldn’t get the better of goalkeeper Paige Soenksen, who recorded 19 saves in the rollercoaster match. In the end, Colorado attacker Katie Macleay converted up a player to give the Buffaloes the golden-goal win after a back-and-forth barnburner.

Senior attacker Christina Esposito netted the first goal of the game, but the Buffaloes answered, scoring three of their own.

Esposito, sophomore attacker Ellie Yenor and senior midfielder Catie Ingrilli led the offensive charge for NU, scoring three unanswered goals to reclaim a one-goal lead for the Cats and combining for 8 of the team’s 10 scores.

NU entered halftime holding a narrow 6-5 lead.

Prior to the matchup, coach Kelly Amonte Hiller stressed taking control of the tempo and doing the little things right, but NU couldn’t execute on those tasks in the second half.

Colorado scored two straight goals after the break to take the lead. The Cats again looked to Esposito and Yenor for production, and the duo responded with another pair of goals.

NU couldn’t hold onto a lead though, as the Buffaloes scored two goals in 20 seconds to swing the momentum back in their favor and take a one goal lead. The Cats tried to tie the game on three separate occasions in the second half, doing everything in their power to avoid the massive upset.

Eventually, junior attacker Selena Lasota took matters into her own hands, knotting the game at 9 with just over 10 minutes remaining. But Colorado wasn’t finished.

Defender Sarah Brown scored a goal just 15 seconds after Lasota to give the Buffaloes a 10-9 lead.

The Cats struggled for the remainder of the match, going scoreless for nearly nine minutes. But with 1:10 left on the clock, Esposito justified her captain credentials, scoring her fourth goal of the game to even the score.

Colorado had a final opportunity in regulation when junior defender Ally Mueller committed a foul, setting up the Buffaloes’ free position shot. But the attempt missed, sending the game into overtime, where Colorado converted just 55 seconds in to seal the win.

The Cats will have a chance to rebound from the crushing loss Saturday, when the team continues its road trip against No. 4 USC, which topped NU last season.

Twitter: @dan_waldman