With a strong first half and overall offensive dominance, the Wildcats stamped their ticket to the NCAA semifinals this weekend by getting revenge over the Syracuse Orange in an 18-14 win.
The Wildcats came out strong behind a goal just over 30 seconds in from junior Megan Kinna, her first of three against the Orange. Their quick start continued with two unassisted scores from Claire Quinn and Lauren Gilbert. By the end of the first half, the Wildcats were up 10-4 following a 6-0 run.
Within the first part of the second half, however, the game was delayed due to weather. The last time this happened, the Wildcats lost their lead against Maryland in an important regular season contest. This time around, they were able to maintain their lead despite a ten goal push from Syracuse in the second half.
Emily Hawryschuk led Syracuse with five goals and ten draw controls. For the Wildcats, Brennan Dwyer matched her with ten draw controls of her own.
Their respective offensive depth separated the two teams in the end. Senior Selena Lasota and freshman Izzy Scane, both huge contributors for the Wildcats, were face guarded by the Orange throughout the game. When the two teams first met early in the regular season, Lasota was limited by a recent injury and Scane missed the middle part of the game with an injury of their own, allowing Syracuse to take an overtime win.
This time around, Northwestern took the face-guarding as a chance to show off the team’s versatility, with eight different players contributed to the goal total. On the other hand, 12 of Syracuse’s 14 tallies were split between just three players.
On the defensive end, Northwestern also came out strong. At one point during the first half, the Wildcats held Syracuse scoreless for an 18 minute stretch. Senior Mallory Weisse recorded six of her eight total saves in the first half.
The Wildcats will take on the No. 1 seeded Maryland Terrapins this Friday at 6:30 p.m. They return to Baltimore, the same place where they defeated the Terrapins for the Big Ten Title, with hopes of securing what would arguably be their biggest win in seven years and advancing to the championship game.