Lacrosse: Northwestern explodes in the second half for a top-20 win


(Daily file photo by Alison Albelda)

Claire Quinn brings the ball down the field. The senior scored a career-high five goals in NU’s win over Johns Hopkins.

Charlie Goldsmith, Reporter


If Kelly Amonte Hiller is right, Northwestern’s offensive explosion in a win on April 6 will lead her and her team to a victory on the Johns Hopkins lacrosse field six weeks from now.

Before the game, Amonte Hiller reminded the Wildcats that the Blue Jays will be hosting both the 2019 Big Ten Championships and the 2019 Final Four. The coach predicted NU could eventually be 5-0 at Homewood Field, forecasting wins in the semifinals and championship games of the Big Ten and the NCAA tournaments.

In what could end up as the first of five games NU plays in Baltimore this season, the No. 6 Cats (9-3, 3-0 Big Ten) beat No. 16 Johns Hopkins (9-4, 1-2), 20-13, following one of the best scoring second halves the team has had all season.

“This has to be the first of five games that we’re going to play here,” sophomore midfielder Lauren Gilbert said. “We just have so many threats that if one person isn’t having the best game or gets ejected, we just have so many other people that can step up. That’s what makes this team so great.”

NU outscored the Blue Jays 15-7 in the second half despite losing a consistent attacker, junior Lindsey McKone, to a controversial ejection shortly before the first half ended. That allowed Johns Hopkins to face guard senior attacker Selena Lasota, NU’s leading scorer, but the Cats’ midfielders took on the majority of the offense’s workload after halftime.

Gilbert opened the second half with two unassisted goals in the first three minutes, bringing NU back from the deficit it had at halftime. Later in the half, senior attacker Claire Quinn scored four goals in 12 minutes, leading NU on a 6-3 run that built a five-goal lead.

Freshman midfielder Izzy Scane added three goals in the second half, and the team made 15 of its 20 shots on goal after the break, despite Lasota taking only two shots in the final 30 minutes.

“That speaks to our weapons,” Amonte Hiller said. “Claire Quinn was unbelievable today, her and (Scane’s) game really stepped up. They were focusing heavily on (Lasota) and (Gilbert) and as a result they were able to take advantage of all of that space.”

In NU’s next game, a home contest Thursday against No. 2 Maryland, the Big Ten regular season championship tiebreaker will potentially be on the line as the two highest-ranked teams in the conference face off.

Even though the next game is one of the most important of the regular season, Amonte Hiller acknowledged her pregame motivation broke from her usual “one game at a time” mentality. But after the team won by its largest margin of season against a ranked team, Quinn said the team received Amonte Hiller’s message extremely well.

“We have four more games on this field, so we’ll have to get used to it,” Quinn said. “I like this field. We’ll get to know it a lot better. We’re going to be here a while.”

Twitter: @2021_charlie