Lacrosse: No. 6 Northwestern puts away Arizona State 16-8, finding rhythm offensively after a stagnant first quarter


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Sophomore midfielder Carleigh Mahoney runs on the field in fall ball. Mahoney recorded a goal in Sunday’s win against Arizona State.

Skye Swann, Newsletter Editor

After a dominant win over Marquette, No. 6 Northwestern set its sights on Arizona State for the first time since the 2020 season. 

Both teams have grown since then, and the matchup Sunday was intense.  But graduate midfielder Brennan Dwyer helped her team square the contest away, leading the team with five goals in the matchup. 

The Wildcats (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten) defeated the Sun Devils (0-2, 0-0 Pac-12) 16-8 at Ryan Fieldhouse, extending the group’s win streak to two games. Alongside Dwyer, sophomore midfielder Hannah Johnson recorded four goals and junior attacker Erin Coykendall tallied two. The squad’s offensive prowess experienced adversity against a high-pressuring Arizona State defense, but the tide eventually turned towards halftime. 

In the first quarter, NU appeared shaken up by the Sun Devils’ defensive pressure, not expecting them to play a backer zone. Despite playing against teams using this scheme, the Cats committed seven turnovers in the period. 

On the other hand, Arizona State seized the advantage scoring the first goal of the game. The Sun Devils were exploiting their fast-paced transition, making it hard for NU to slow the team down in the midfield. But the Cats responded quickly courtesy of freshman midfielder Samantha Smith on a woman-up play. 

However, the remainder of the quarter went back-and-forth between the two teams, as they shot goals, turned the ball over and possessed the ball on the draw circle. Gilbert and Coykendall got on the scoreboard in the time frame. NU tied the Sun Devils as the quarter ended, a statistic that would foreshadow the next 15 minutes. 

At the start of the second quarter, the Cats found their rhythm on the offensive end of the field, going on an attacking run. Three different players scored in the quarter, highlighting NU’s versatility and attempts to find some new offensive producers in the wake of junior attacker Izzy Scane’s absence. 

After halftime, the Cats continued their success on the offensive end of the floor, extending the squad’s lead by an additional three goals. Arizona State faced a hard time trying to slow down NU’s momentum. Instead, the Cats received more player-up advantages following Sun Devils yellow cards. 

Despite Gilbert being disqualified early in the fourth quarter due to her second yellow card, NU’s offensive run kicked into high gear. The team scored an extra eight goals, making it even more difficult for Arizona State to come back. 

The Cats finished regulation strong, earning their second win of the season. The squad returns to action Wednesday against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. 

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