On Senior Day (and Free Taco Day) at Martin Stadium, Northwestern (8-7) lacrosse shelled No. 20 Duke (7-7) in the second half to win 12-10. Despite going down 8-7 with 17:51 left in the second half, Northwestern responded with five straight goals to ensure a critical home victory for the Wildcats.
The pregame and postgame festivities centered around Christina Esposito, Danita Stroup and Catie Ingrilli, who managed to cap off Senior Day with a crucial win over Duke. The seniors pulled their weigh in the contest, scoring four goals between them and closing out a ranked Duke team at home.
For much of the game, the Wildcats found themselves frustrated by its inability to put Duke away. The game started with two quick goals from Stroup and Nicole Beardsley, respectively, to put Northwestern up 2-0 after six minutes. Duke answered, but Shelby Fredericks received a nice pass from Liza Elder and scored to make it 3-1. Duke’s Maddie Crutchfield responded immediately to make it 3-2, and an inconclusive series of Northwestern possessions allowed Duke to tie it up at 3-3 with 13:25 left in the first half.
Northwestern’s Catie Ingrilli scored her 21st goal of the season one minute later, but Duke once again responded with two more goals to take a 5-4 lead. But Northwestern’s final ten minutes were excellent defensively, as it forced three Duke turnovers and set up the offense to score twice to make it 6-5 at halftime.
Despite out-shooting Duke 14-8 in the first half, Northwestern failed to find that elusive consistency it has wanted the whole season in the beginning of the second half. With the offense still missing superstar Selena Lasota, Duke held Northwestern to just one goal through the first 17 minutes of the second half.
The Blue Devils’ offense ground out three goals from Grace Fallon, Ellie Majure and Maddie Crutchfield. Northwestern was now down 8-7, knowing that a loss would seriously dent its NCAA Tournament expectations. Finally, Northwestern’s offense kicked into gear, as Stroup broke the drought with a key goal. Two minutes later, Northwestern broke the game wide open.
Then, Claire Quinn scored a remarkable goal immediately after getting knocked over by a Duke defender. Then, Fredericks won the draw control and scored, and then Beardsley scored 50 seconds later to make it 11-8 with 10 minutes remaining. A Liza Elder insurance goal made it 12-8, and although Duke would get two consolation goals at the end, the Wildcats held off Duke for a hard-fought 12-10 win.
Northwestern will travel to New Brunswick for its next game against Rutgers on April 22 at 10 a.m. CST.