Lacrosse: Northwestern defeats No. 3 Syracuse in overtime win, Lauren Gilbert scores game-winning goal


Gabe Bider/The Daily Northwestern

After a loss in last year’s semi final, the Cats defeated the Orange in overtime on Tuesday.

Kate Walter, Reporter


Revenge never felt so sweet. After then No. 3 Syracuse ended No. 2 Northwestern’s 2021 season in the Final Four, the Cats (4-1, 0-0 Big Ten) roared back to defeat the Orange (4-1, 1-0 ACC) in a 16-15 overtime victory on Tuesday. Graduate student Lauren Gilbert scored the game-winning goal off a free position, giving NU (4-1, 0-0 Big Ten) their biggest victory of the season yet.

During last year’s matchup, Syracuse bested the Cats on the draw control, forcing them to go on defense for most of the game. But this time around, NU won 21 of the draw controls to Syracuses’ 14.

NU kicked things off with goals from sophomore Erin Coykendall and graduate student Brennan Dwyer within 30 seconds of each other. Syracuse answered with two goals of their own, but then graduate student Jill Girardi took back the lead, scoring off a free position. The Orange tied it back up at 3-3 to end the first quarter.

The second quarter began in a back-and-forth battle. In between Syracuse goals, Girardi found her way to the net twice. As the half neared, the Cats took charge to secure an 8-5 lead over the Orange. Igniting her seven-goal total, Gilbert scored her first of the game. Coykendall followed, launching a shot behind the goalie’s back in a decisive play assisted by Dwyer. Gilbert aimed and fired to top off the Cats’ scoring streak.

Syracuse went on an offensive tear in the third quarter, scoring six consecutive goals and keeping the Cats scoreless for over 10 minutes. NU struggled to contain the Orange, who took 8 shots in the quarter as opposed to the Cats two.

Dwyer finally put the Cats back on the board, but it wasn’t enough to outmaneuver the Cuse’s swift passing. Syracuse put another two in the net before the quarter’s end, even with Gilbert’s last-minute goal.The Cats left the third quarter down 13-10.

However, the reigning Big Ten Champions proved why you should never count them out. With goals by Gilbert and Girardi, the Cats tenaciously clawed their way back into the fight. Trailing the Orange by only one goal in the last minute of the game, Gilbert fired a shot to tie the game at 15-15. Senior goalie Madison Doucette’s save prevented the Orange from seizing a late victory, sending the game to overtime.

In last year’s Northwestern-Syracuse matchup, the fourth quarter ended with a decisive victory behind the Orange’s eight goals. But a lot can change in 10 months. The Cats had already fought to a tie. They weren’t about to let this one go.

It took Gilbert less than a minute to take care of business for the Cats and right the wrong of that day in May 2021. After winning the draw control, Gilbert soon found herself with a free position attempt for NU. She clinched the sudden death winner and avenged the Cats’ loss of last season in the process.

This victory puts NU at 4-1, with its only loss coming at the hands of the reigning National Champions No. 1 Boston College. The Cats defeated unranked teams Marquette and Arizona State, and held off No. 16 Notre Dame last week. Syracuse is the highest ranked team the Cats have defeated thus far this season.

NU can cherish the Tuesday win, but their upcoming challenge against No. 2 North Carolina will pose an even tougher challenge. The Cats will head to Chapel Hill this weekend in hopes of knocking another team down from the rankings and continuing their ascent toward an eighth national championship.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @katewalter03

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