For a while, it looked like a furious second half charge might allow No. 5 Northwestern to overcome an early deficit. But in the end, the Wildcats (9-4) just couldn't find a way past No. 9 Stony Brook's (12-0) lockdown defense and fell 11-9 to the Seawolves in Stony Brook, N.Y. Sunday afternoon.
On the second game of their East Coast road trip, the Wildcats came out a little flat and quickly found themselves down 5-0 to two goals each from Stony Brook sophomores Courtney Murphy and Dorrien Van Dyke. Murphy finished with a hat trick on the day.
Undefeated at home, Stony Brook dominated possession in the early going and when the Wildcats finally managed to get the ball, they were impatient on offense and committed devastating turnovers.
Northwestern finally got on the board thanks to a massive free-position rocket from freshman standout Selena Lasota, who managed to fire it home despite being fouled fairly far from the goal. You could see the the players visibly exhale a sigh of relief as they got rid of their goose egg on the scoreboard and they started playing more loose after that.
Less than two minutes later, it was Lasota again scoring from a nice feed from fellow freshman Corinne Wessels. Five minutes later, it was junior Christina Esposito from a free-position as she spun past one defender before pulling the Stony Brook keeper, junior Kaitlyn Leahy, out of the crease and finishing around her. That capped a 3-0 run to end the half for the Wildcats, and it looked like 'game on.'
But the Seawolves scored the first two goals of the second half, both from freshman Kylie Ohlmiller, who had a great game and finished with four goals and two assists on the afternoon.
Things went back and forth for a little while after that before Murphy completed her hat trick, putting Stony Brook up 10-5 with a little over seven minutes remaining. It looked like it was just a formality at that point, but the Wildcats showed impressive resolve, scoring three goals, including two from Lasota, in less than a minute to cut the deficit to just two. Lasota finished with four on the day.
But despite their furious comeback attempt, it was too little, too late for Northwestern as the teams traded goals once more before the final horn sounded and Stony Brook emerged as the victors, 11-9.
Despite the loss – ending the Wildcat's four-game winning streak – there are positives to take away from this game. For starters, on the road, against a very tough defense, Northwestern almost doubled Stony Brook's defensive per game average. The Seawolves were first in the nation in defensive goals per game, allowing only 4.92 per contest. That is the sign of an offense clicking on all cylinders and one that should strike fear into any opponents they play in the postseason. In addition, despite this being the second game of their road trip in unfamiliar territory, the team showed impressive resolve in fighting back from the early, large deficit. Although a win would have been nice, coach Kelly Amonte Hiller surely recognizes the impressive performance her Wildcats put in.
After finishing their East Coast road trip 1-1, the Wildcats travel to South Bend Thursday to take on Notre Dame before finishing the season at home with two conference games against Penn State and Ohio State.