Lacrosse: No. 2 Northwestern spoils Ohio State’s senior day in 17-11 win, clinches share of Big Ten regular season title


Daily file photo by Seeger Gray

Senior midfielder Jane Hansen advances the ball upfield. Hansen scooped three ground balls and caused four turnovers against the Buckeyes on Saturday.

Jake Epstein, Assistant Sports Editor

Following an upset-filled week in the Big Ten — with No. 18 Penn State triumphing over No. 10 Maryland and No. 25 John Hopkins beating No. 13 Michigan, No. 2 Northwestern carried its 13-game winning streak into Columbus for a battle with Ohio State on Saturday. 

While the Buckeyes (5-10, 0-5 Big Ten) punched well above their weight in a senior day showdown, the Wildcats (14-1, 5-0 Big Ten) overcame turnover troubles and moved one step closer towards an outright regular season title with a 17-11 victory.

Sophomore midfielder Samantha Smith corralled the opening draw and eventually fed senior attacker Erin Coykendall for a quickfire score in the game’s opening minute. Just 74 seconds later, senior attacker Dylan Amonte fired home a free-position shot, extending the NU edge to 2-0. After graduate student attacker Hailey Rhatigan picked up a yellow card, Ohio State attacker Chloë Johnson capitalized on the player-advantage, cutting the Cats’ lead to 2-1 with 11:18 remaining in the first frame.

Three minutes later, sophomore defender Samantha White scooped a ground ball and hit graduate student attacker Izzy Scane in stride for a score. The Buckeyes soon punched back, though, as Ohio State attacker Jamie Lasda converted an unassisted tally to cut the deficit to 3-2. However, Scane wasn’t done just yet, slicing through the heart of the Buckeye zone to tally her 70th goal of the season. Then Coykendall flung a sidewinder from the eight-meter. 

NU settled at a 5-2 NU advantage after one quarter.

Ohio State midfielder Jamie Level snatched an empty-cage goal to kickstart the second frame, but Rhatigan relentlessly rattled the Buckeye defense, weaving through gaps and racking up four goals in under four minutes. Following nearly five minutes of scoreless play, Scane and Ohio State midfielder Caly O’Brien traded a pair of goals to send the Cats into the half leading 10-4.

After the intermission, freshman midfielder Madison Taylor drew a shooting space call and capitalized on the free-position shot. Exactly a minute later, Scane flipped a feed to a cutting Rhatigan, who buried her fifth goal of the evening, marking an eight-goal margin for NU with 10:34 left in the third quarter. The Buckeyes drew one back, as attacker Nicole Ferrara exploited Taylor’s non-releasable penalty to make the score 12-5 midway through the period. With both squads trading blows, Ohio State kept the game within reach at 14-8 heading into the final frame. 

However, the Cats shot out of a cannon at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Rhatigan grabbed her sixth goal of the day off a powerful shot from the eight-meter, then Coykendall dodged past two defenders before ripping a howitzer into the top left corner, upping NU’s lead to eight with just over 11 minutes to play. 

However, Lasda and Ohio State didn’t go silently into the night, launching a late-game push. The attacker notched back-to-back scores to chip the deficit down to 16-10 at the 4:24 mark. But after Scane responded with her fourth goal of the day off a picture-perfect roll-dodge, the Buckeyes scored only once more to finalize the Cats road victory 17-11.

Coach Kelly Amonte Hiller’s team will face off against her alma mater in No. 10 Maryland on April 22 in the program’s regular season finale. With the Terrapins coming off a disappointing defeat in University Park, Pennsylvania, they will be hoping to turn things around and shake up the Big Ten standings at Lanny and Sharon Martin Stadium. 

After clinching a share of the Big Ten regular season title on Saturday, a Cats’ win would guarantee them the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament and build on an impressive resume with another ranked victory.

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Twitter: @jakeepste1n

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