Rapid Recap: No. 2 Northwestern 19, Johns Hopkins 5


Daily file photo by Angeli Mittal

Junior midfielder Carleigh Mahoney looks to jumpstart a Wildcat attack. Mahoney made her 10th start of the season at Johns Hopkins on Thursday.

Jake Epstein, Assistant Sports Editor

After knocking off then-No. 1 North Carolina from the ranks of undefeated in Ryan Fieldhouse Sunday, No. 2 Northwestern left its five-game homestand in the rearview mirror and headed eastbound for Baltimore.

The stage was set for a Charm City challenge Thursday against Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field — a place the program has history. It was the same stadium coach Kelly Amonte Hiller’s team saw its national title hopes vanquish in just 15 minutes last May against the Tar Heels.

The Wildcats (9-1, 2-0 Big Ten) picked up right where they left off at home, trouncing the Blue Jays (4-5, 1-1 Big Ten) in their ninth straight victory.

Sophomore midfielder Samantha Smith controlled the afternoon’s opening draw, and proceeded to bury a free-position shot a minute and a half later to give NU a 1-0 lead.

While the two teams traded goals, graduate student attacker Hailey Rhatigan sent a low free-position shot into the back of the net, handing the Cats a 3-1 advantage with 9:13 remaining in the first frame.

Johns Hopkins midfielder Marielle McAteer split the deficit in half, and her squad then attempted the leveler, but graduate goalkeeper Molly Laliberty made a crucial save. From there, freshman midfielder Madison Taylor converted an unassisted tally on the ensuing possession, and Rhatigan added another from the eight meter, extending the edge to 5-2 at the period’s four minute mark.

Despite facing a two-player down scenario, Blue Jay midfielder Campbell Case found the back of the net to keep the contest within reach, but Rhatigan completed her first quarter hat trick to settle a 6-3 NU lead after 15 minutes.

After a relatively quiet opening frame for her standards, graduate student attacker Izzy Scane shot out like a lightning bolt in the second quarter, finding Taylor for the period’s opening score after just 40 seconds. Scane then fired a powerful effort beyond Johns Hopkins goalkeeper Maggie Tydings, stretching the margin to 8-3. Senior attacker Erin Coykendall followed these up with two straight scores, solidifying a seven-goal difference.

Taylor sank her third goal of the matchup with four minutes left in the first half, while the ‘Scane Train’ sliced through the Johns Hopkins’ defense to cap a 12-3 halftime lead for the Cats.

In the third quarter, Scane struck again from point blank range for her 50th goal of the season, sending the game into a running clock scenario. Coykendall added another tally into the mix, but the Blue Jays piled on two straight scores to bring the game within nine goals.

However, Scane found Rhatigan in the final seconds of the third quarter, and the Mercer transfer buried her fourth goal of the afternoon, propelling NU to a 15-5 lead heading into the final frame.

With two more scores by Coykendall to open the fourth quarter, Amonte Hiller proceeded to rotate personnel in a dominant 19-5 victory for the Cats.

Here’s three takeaways from NU’s away win over Johns Hopkins.


1. The conference’s foremost freshmen faceoff

Taylor and Blue Jay midfielder Ava Angello have burst onto the conference and national scene, providing significant contributions to their teams’ attacking and defensive efforts.

Angello made an instant imprint on the contest, finding Johns Hopkins midfielder Campbell Case to put her team on the board five minutes in.

Even though it took Taylor twice as long to ignite, her sustained impact helped the Cats build a significant first half lead. Taylor tallied three goals and an assist in the first 30 minutes of action, and she displayed levels of finesse and goal-scoring moxy far beyond her first-year experience.

The NU midfield stalwart didn’t shy away from contact and proved her value as the premier rookie in the conference.

2. The Cats put forth a defensive clinic

After holding the Blue Jays to three scores in the first frame, the NU defensive unit stepped up in the second quarter, pitching a shutout.

Led by Samantha White, who dominated ground balls and forced five turnovers in her homecoming to Maryland, the Cats’ defenders built on their previous displays to stymie any semblance of momentum for Johns Hopkins.

Laliberty put in a clinic between the pipes, pulling off several acrobatic efforts to thwart free-position and high percentage shots. Junior midfielder Kendall Halpern also proved crucial to her squad’s display, frustrating the Blue Jays whenever they crossed her path.

Even with a rotated unit in the final quarter, the defense once again held its opposition off the board.

3. NU’s diverse scoring options prove too tough for Johns Hopkins to handle

The Cats’ offensive strength lies in their deep scoring options. All seven players are capable of finding the back of the net whenever the team lines up.

While the first quarter proved to be the Rhatigan show — as the graduate student attacker notched a hat trick in the opening 15 minutes — Scane and Taylor took over in the second frame. Scane not only struck gold with ease, but the Tewaaraton Award favorite put on a passing clinic, finding teammates on perfect paths toward goal for two assists.

Then Coykendall took control, scoring five goals and notching two assists in an afternoon capped with another behind-the-back tally.

With the NU attack firing on all cylinders, Amonte Hiller’s team showed no signs of slowing down and cruised to a double digit victory.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jakeepste1n

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