If there was any doubt that the overtime game against Penn State in the ALC semifinals motivated Northwestern, it was put to rest in the rematch.
No. 2 NU (19-2) beat No. 7 Penn State (14-7), 15-7, in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals Saturday night, and it was even more lopsided than the score indicated.
“Just down the stretch, the girls have been really focused and it takes a lot of focus to be able to really put a team away,” coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. “You have them on the ropes and you’ve really got to get that knockout punch. Earlier in the year, we’ve lacked that focus to be able to get over that hump and I think every single player since our loss to Florida has been really committed. That’s really the difference.”
Senior Gabriella Flibotte led an aggressive defensive effort early, causing four Penn State turnovers on their first four possessions. Meanwhile, the Cats’ offense took advantage of two early free position shots to take a 2-0 lead.