Lacrosse: No. 7 Wildcats win 8th straight in Senior Day takedown of Rutgers


Alec Carroll/The Daily Northwestern

Shelby Fredericks eyes the Rutgers defense. The senior attacker registered nine assists, falling one short of the program record, in Northwestern’s 19-7 win Saturday.

Ella Brockway, Assistant Sports Editor


Tara Chelios waited a lifetime — if a lifetime is equivalent to the four years of her Northwestern career — for a moment like this.

The senior had tallied just one shot on goal and three ground balls in 19 appearances for the No. 7 Wildcats (13-3, 5-0 Big Ten) heading into Saturday’s Senior Day game against Rutgers (7-9, 1-4). Then, with 3:59 remaining in the game, her statline changed.

Chelios caught a toss from junior attacker Kim Harker and rolled around the left side toward the goal. Surrounded by three defenders, she bounced the ball past the Scarlet Knights’ goalkeeper and into the net, threw her stick down and jumped up with both arms in the air.

The crowd at Lakeside Field erupted, and NU goalkeeper Mallory Weisse sprinted all the way down to the opposite end of the field to join the celebration. Chelios ran to the Cats’ sideline and was again enveloped by a circle of teammates, as Kelly Clarkson’s 2002 song “A Moment Like This” blasted on the loudspeakers.

Chelios’ goal was the icing on the cake for a memorable 19-7 Senior Day win for NU, one that kept the team’s undefeated Big Ten record and now-eight game win streak alive.

“The whole team just wanted me to score all season, and I honestly couldn’t have done it without them,” said Chelios, a natural defender who was sent on at the end of the game to play attack. “I love the team, so scoring it was the most unbelievable moment of my life.”

This was the fourth straight game in which the Cats scored at least 17 goals. The strong offensive performance was the product of solid ball movement: In the win, NU recorded a season-high 15 assists as a team compared to Rutgers’ one.

Shelby Fredericks finished with a career-high nine assists, one shy of tying the program record for most assists in a game and two away from the Division I record. The senior attacker, who also had a game-high nine draw controls, emphasized the team’s ability to read the opposing defense and find openings in the Scarlet Knights’ zone.

“It’s just taking what the defense was giving us,” Fredericks said. “When you’re playing against a zone, there’s obviously someone open on the backside, so it’s really just credit to my teammates. They were moving really well off ball and I was able to find them a couple times.”

Senior attackers Danita Stroup and Sheila Nesselbush each finished with 4 goals, while junior attacker Selena Lasota added 4 more goals and three assists. Nine of the trio’s 12 goals came in the first half, in which the Cats jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it.

NU came into the second half with a 13-5 advantage, and built on that with a 5-goal run early in the period. Scores from junior midfielder Emily Stein, freshman attacker Brianna Stroup, Lasota and Nesselbush gave the Cats an 18-5 lead, their largest of the game.

Nine different players scored in the win. At least seven different players have scored in 10 of NU’s 16 games this season, speaking to the depth of this year’s team.

“In different games, different people are stepping up based on what kind of defense (the opponent is) playing, but we need everybody to step up at this point in the season,” coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. “Every game is tough (and) these conference games are really tough. You need everyone to really show up and play their best and play for each other.”

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