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Northwestern downed by late Syracuse run

No. 3 Syracuse scored six of the last seven goals to overcome a reeling Northwestern team, 11-7, at the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon.

No. 7 NU had come out of halftime firing, tying the game up at 6 with just over 27 minutes left. But they managed only one score after that, on a shot from redshirt junior Kara Mupo with 7:40 left in the game and the Wildcats already down by four.

The two teams looked fairly even through the first 30 minutes. Scores from Mupo and sophomore Kaleigh Craig put the Cats up by a goal six minutes into the contest, but Syracuse came back to tie the game just over a minute later and soon took a one- and then two-goal lead.

Mupo added her second of three goals of the day to bring the Cats back within one, but the Orange answered again less than two minutes later, and they held onto the lead to take a 6-4 advantage into halftime.

Craig and Kat DeRonda scored two quick goals to open the second period and even the score at six, but NU then went 20 minutes without scoring and Syracuse opened up a comfortable advantage.

NU's Alyssa Leonard, the team's leading scorer before the game, was noticeably absent from the scoring column, though she did contribute two assists and six draw controls.

The loss was NU's third in four games, the first time that has happened since the 2002-2003 season in coach Kelly Amonte Hiller's second season at the helm.

Before the loss, the Cats had held an 11-game winning streak over the Orange dating back to their one and only loss against Syracuse in 2003. But the out-of-conference rivals had been playing NU down to the wire for the last three meetings. In the 2012 regular season, NU needed overtime to take down the Orange. They faced off again in the NCAA Championship game that year, with the Cats coming out on top, 8-6. Last year's match was a 13-12 NU victory that required a late comeback goal from Leonard.

Northwestern doesn't have much time to mull over the defeat: they take on Massachusetts on Tuesday night. The short turnaround might be good for them though--they had 12 days to prepare for Syracuse and that clearly didn't help.