Northwestern lacrosse had everything under control, until it didn’t.
The No. 9 Penn Quakers arrived at Martin Stadium Sunday morning expecting a challenge, and Northwestern obliged. However, despite leading 7-5 with 15 minutes left in the game, Northwestern (6-6) could not close out Penn (8-2), as the Quakers went on a stunning 5-0 run to win the game 10-7.
The game started inauspiciously for Northwestern as Natalie Stefan and Caroline Cummings both beat keeper Mallory Weisse to make it a 2-0 Penn lead. But Northwestern responded with a customary scoring run. Northwestern fired home three goals in five minutes. Danita Stroup’s goal with 11:20 left in the half made it 3-2 Northwestern.
Gabby Rosenzweig equalized six minutes later, but then madness ensued to end the first half. Catie Ingrilli scored her 16th goal of the season on a free position shot with just 16 seconds left to make it 4-3, but a Shelby Fredericks turnover after Northwestern won the draw control eventually led to a Penn goal from Caroline Cummings with 4 seconds left.
Northwestern shook off the wild end to the first half well, despite giving up the first goal of the second half. Another trademark Northwestern offensive flurry occurred with 22:41 remaining in the game, as Christina Esposito scored 3 goals in under six minutes. Northwestern’s best offensive player this season could not be stopped, and Penn entered the final 13 minutes of the game down by two goals.
But Northwestern’s offense could not sustain its momentum. Esposito was docked for a yellow card, and Penn received timely goals from Chrissy Corcoran and Megan Kelly soon afterwards. The game was tied at 7-7, soon to be 8-7 in favor of the Quakers after Cummings scored her 29th goal of the season.
Fredericks won the ensuing draw control, but Chelsea Kibler forced a turnover which quickly led to a goal from Erin Barry to make it 9-7. Northwestern won another draw control, but the ensuing shot was saved by Penn’s Britt Brown. Penn cleared and Sarah Barcia scored to finish Northwestern off with 3:17 remaining. From seemingly out of nowhere, Penn ended the game on a 5-0 run to stun the Northwestern players and fans.
Northwestern had more shots on goal (20-18), won more draw controls (12-7) and had fewer turnovers (12 to Penn’s 15), but still lost the game. Scoring goals in bunches is good in lacrosse, and in most things, but Northwestern’s lack of consistency really hurt them here. 6 of its 7 goals were scored in two 6-minute stretches. In the other 48 minutes, Northwestern had just one goal, and it couldn’t come up with another run at the end of the game. Defensively, Northwestern played quite well for much of the game, but just ran out of steam at the end.
A disappointed Northwestern team will now play two Big Ten games. Northwestern travels to face Ohio State on April 6th at 6 p.m. CST. The Wildcats return home for a 7 p.m. game against Penn State at Martin Stadium on April 13.