Rapid Recap: No. 3 Syracuse 21, No. 2 Northwestern 13


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Izzy Scane runs with the ball. The junior scored four goals in Friday’s semifinal loss to Syracuse

Gabriela Carroll, Senior Staffer


TOWSON, MD— Northwestern picked a bad time to play their worst game of the season. The Wildcats’ bid for perfection, and an eighth national championship, ended Friday in a loss to Syracuse in the Final Four. The 21-13 final score was NU’s lowest goal total of the season.

Lindsey McKone opened the scoring less than a minute in after Brennan Dwyer secured the first draw control. Syracuse’s zone defense is aggressive, but NU was patient and waited for their best look at the goal. 

The Cats’ transition defense was very active. On the Orange’s first two transitions, they spent a long time in the midfield since NU’s attack kept them at bay. The Cats picked up two early yellow cards, on Lauren Gilbert’s dangerous shot and a check to the head from Jill Girardi, and Syracuse scored while up two, which killed the Gilbert penalty. 

Doucette made big saves on the free position, but NU couldn’t grab the rebounds or clear the ball out, and Syracuse scored again to go up 2-1. The Cats committed a lot of infractions and penalties early, extending the Orange’s possessions and giving them extra opportunities on the free position.

Syracuse scored again to go up 3-1, and then 4-1. Doucette got caught up too high on the field on the fourth and the fifth goal, and the Orange had an open cage to shoot on. NU struggled on the draw control in the first half, conceding eight and winning just five.

McKone scored the Cats’ second goal of the game almost 18 minutes after her first with a snipe from behind the goal line to pull NU within 3. But Syracuse answered just a few seconds later, and from there, the game started to slip away from the Cats’ grasp, as the Orange added four more to build a 10-2 lead.

Sophomore attacker Eve Hritzuk stopped the bleeding with a free position goal, and junior attacker Izzy Scane finally scored her first goal of the game to make it 10-4 at the half. 

Scane scored again in the opening minutes of the second half, off an assist from graduate attacker Sammy Mueller, who passed on her free position opportunity. But NU could’t string together a streak of goals, and the Orange added two more to pull ahead by 7. Senior attacker Lauren Gilbert scored her first of the game on a free position to bring the score to 12-6.

The Cats pulled the deficit to as few as three late in the game, but NU could never rally all the way back, and Syracuse kept matching all of the Cats’ runs, and NU fell 21 to 13. 

1. Northwestern continues its trend of slow starts

For the second game in the row, NU struggled to find the back of the net early, and their opponents went on a run. After letting Duke jump out to a 6-1 lead in their quarterfinal matchup, Syracuse built up a 10-4 lead on the Cats in the first half. But unlike some of their lesser competition early in the season, NU struggled to pull away from an Orange offense that just kept scoring. 

2. If you’re a goalie, tend the goal!

Doucette made saves off the free position early, but spotted Syracuse two goals because of her poor decision to pop out in transition. The Orange had attackers ahead of Doucette, and made quick outlet passes to those attackers before burying the easy goals. In the second half, Doucette started off the half by popping out to try and defend a player behind the net.  

With NU’s penalty struggles, the team was already playing from behind, and those pop outs were unnecessary risks to take. They never led to a defensive stop. 

3. Foul trouble sinks the Cats’ season

NU committed 49 fouls compared to Syracuse’s 31, and earned eight yellow cards compared to the Orange’s three. Syracuse scored two goals man-up, and NU lost Girardi, one of its key midfielders and draw control specialists, with fifteen minutes left in the second half after she picked up her second yellow card. The Cats played some of the final minutes with two men down after rallying to bring it within three.