Lacrosse: No. 6 Northwestern loses its second top-10 matchup of the season


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Megan Kinna runs with the ball. The senior midfielder scored a goal on Saturday.

Gabriela Carroll, Assistant Sports Editor


No. 6 Northwestern wanted its loss to then-No. 7 Notre Dame to be a wake-up call that would push them to be better. After Saturday’s 16-11 loss to now-No. 7 Syracuse, Kelly Amonte Hiller’s team is still waiting for it.

The Orange (4-1) jumped out to an early 7-3 lead, and the Wildcats (3-2) seemed out of sorts. Junior midfielder Brennan Dwyer struggled on the draw control, and NU, led by new starting sophomore goalie Madison Doucette, made defensive stops, but yet again struggled to keep possession on the clear.

Doucette’s performance, especially in the first half, was one of the game’s bright spots. With a career-high eleven saves, Doucette and the defense stayed poised in the first half, which allowed the Cats’ offense to rally to lead at the half. 

“I think it’s a mentality thing,” Doucette said of her defense’s first half performance. “We got hyped up. We also were given some pretty great looks from our scout team this week. So, we know what to expect. We’re ready for it and we can just keep it rolling.”

NU scored five goals in just under three minutes to retake the lead going into the second half, and it seemed like the Cats had found their stride. Senior attacker Lindsey McKone led the charge with two goals and two assists in that period, and Ryan Fieldhouse was electric.

Then, in the second half, everything fell apart. NU allowed nine goals, and only scored three of their own, and each of those came on free-position shots. Syracuse struggled to stay out of shooting space in the half, but their aggressive defense in the eight-meter meant it didn’t matter –– the Cats only took eight shots. In return, the Orange went on an 8-1 run in the final eighteen minutes to bury NU. 

“We never think of ourselves as down and out,” Doucette said. “We’ve come back from more; we’ve come back from less. We were really just pushing into the end. I’m very proud of how my defense played until the end. It just slipped away in the last couple, honestly the last minute. Otherwise, I believe we were in it.”

Now the Cats are in a tough place. NU’s offense has shown it can achieve greatness, but it has yet to show that it can achieve greatness against great opponents.  With a game against a North Carolina team that just routed defending national champion Maryland looming on the horizon, NU’s offense needs to learn to compete with top defenses. 

Star sophomore attacker Izzy Scane disappeared Saturday, with no goals or assists and only three shots, and fellow offensive leader McKone had seven turnovers. Both players will rebound, but against top opponents like Syracuse and the upcoming Tar Heels, the Cats look to their offensive leadership to execute.

“It’s obviously really hard to see all the options on offense when you’re panicking in a high-pressure situation,” said junior attacker Lauren Gilbert about the offense after the Notre Dame game. “When you’re calm, you’re able to see everything and move the ball. Our offense has so many threats that as long as we focus on moving the ball, and just staying calm.”

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