Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Field Hockey: No. 2 Northwestern rallies in fourth quarter to knock off Louisville 3-2, advances to third straight NCAA Tournament semifinals

Freshman+back+Ilse+Tromp.+In+Northwesterns+3-2+comeback+win+over+Louisville+in+the+NCAA+Tournament+quarterfinals%2C+Tromp+scored+two+goals.
Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer
Freshman back Ilse Tromp. In Northwestern’s 3-2 comeback win over Louisville in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, Tromp scored two goals.

Entering the fourth quarter of its NCAA Tournament quarterfinal clash with Louisville, No. 2 Northwestern trailed 2-1. 

For the Wildcats (20-1, 8-0 Big Ten), the situation was a bit foreign. Coach Tracey Fuchs’ squad had trailed on only four prior occasions this season, a grand total of 113 minutes ahead of Sunday’s contest. NU had only entered the fourth and final frame at a deficit once — a season-opening 1-0 defeat to the Cardinals (15-7, 3-3 ACC).

But when the ‘Cats convened for a huddle upon conclusion of the third frame, Fuchs said her team was undaunted by the magnitude of the situation. 

“They all came in, they were calm (and) they were ready to go,” Fuchs said. “We didn’t have to make too many adjustments. We were playing well, we just needed to find the back of the net.”

As Sunday’s game progressed, NU was able to maintain the bulk of offensive pressure, registering nine shots and drawing six penalty corners in the second half while keeping Louisville’s attack at relative bay. In a simple assessment of the second half, Cardinals coach Justine Sowry said the ‘Cats “put their foot down on the gas pedal.”

With its season on the line, NU’s “resiliency” and “relentlessness,” as Fuchs dubbed it, shone through in the form of two fourth quarter goals from its pair of penalty corner stalwarts — freshman back Ilse Tromp and senior midfielder Lauren Wadas.

Three minutes had passed since Louisville’s penalty corner score near the end of the third quarter sent the Cardinals faithful into a frenzy. As pressure mounted in the final frame, Fuchs called Tromp’s number and the Dutch international provided an emphatic answer. 

On the team’s fourth penalty corner of the game, graduate student midfielder Alia Marshall and junior midfielder Lauren Hunter teed up Tromp, who rifled a low screaming missile past the outstretched legs of the Cardinals’ goaltender and leveled the score 2-2.

For Tromp, the goal marked her 10th tally of the season and second of the game — she had equalized earlier in the first quarter with a lofted finish into the top right corner of the goal. She attributed her penalty corner scoring success to both her teammates and consistent practice. 

“We have a good insert with Alia (Marshall), and Peyton (Halsey) and (Lauren) Hunter are both good stick stoppers, which makes it way easier for me,” Tromp said. “And at practice (Annabel Skubisz) makes it hard for me (to score).”

With the minutes ticking away, it appeared NU was destined for a second overtime battle in three games. However, junior midfielder Greta Hinke had other plans.

The Mequon, Wisconsin, native collected a Cardinals miscue and charged toward the circle. Hinke took several dribbles before being knocked onto the turf, drawing a third penalty corner of the quarter for the ‘Cats. 

Right before the late Louisville blunder, Fuchs said she was preparing for the possibility of pulling senior goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz to find another goal. Fuchs added that the coaching staff had been working with Hinke about progressing with the ball and Sunday’s display was a culmination of that preparation.

“(I’m) really proud of her,” Fuchs said of Hinke. “We’ve been working all year long with her being able to take the ball forward on the move. She’s just been so consistent for us.”

NU’s ensuing penalty corner was blocked by the foot of a Louisville defender, providing the hosts with another prime opportunity. 

Instead of sending the ball to Tromp at the top of the circle as she had seconds earlier, Marshall, Hunter and Wadas combined for the game-winning effort. Wadas, Fuchs’ infallible senior midfielder, took one dribble before whipping a thunderous strike into the backboard, securing a 3-2 victory for the ‘Cats. 

Throughout the season, Fuchs has said that when the game is on the line she wants Wadas with the ball on her stick. Sunday’s game-winning effort provided further evidence to back the veteran coach’s claim. 

For Wadas, her score marked her third goal in NU’s last four contests. Despite the late-game pressure, she said “a lot of great plays led up to that moment.”

“(It starts) with great inserts and great stops, and that puts you in a really good position to get a really good shot off,” Wadas said. “(I was) just saying in my head, ‘I’ve done this a million times in practice and this is no different.’”

With Sunday’s win, the ‘Cats claimed their 20th consecutive victory and a third straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Now, NU will face another early season foe in No. 3 Duke in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Friday, to vie for a national championship appearance. 

“We have so much experience and we have such great people on this team, that it’s honestly been my most rewarding year since I’ve been at Northwestern,” Fuchs said reflecting on her team’s journey this year. “It makes me so proud to have all these seniors going back to the Final Four. It’s so hard to do in any sport, and to do it three years in a row is pretty rewarding for (us).”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @CervantesPAlex 

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