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Lacrosse: Amonte leads second-half comeback to upset No. 3 Boston College

Were you ever really worried?

@NUlax on Twitter

Never count out the ‘Cats.

Trailing four goals at halftime to one of the best programs in the country, No. 5 Northwestern seemed unfazed as it fought hard to take down No. 3 Boston College 15-13.

Holding her scoreless for the first half, the acclaimed BC defense did its best to shut down Izzy Scane, who was coming off a 10-goal game against Notre Dame. It was a next-man-up mentality for the ‘Cats, and Dylan Amonte rose to the challenge, posting a career-high five goals. Inevitably, the Scane Train got going with the 2021 Tewaaraton Finalist scoring four goals. Madison Taylor also notched a hat trick, continuing an exceptional start to her freshman season with 10 goals in three games.

A yellow card on Scane within the first minute set the tone for the first half. Tewaaraton favorite Belle Smith found the back of the cage two times for the Eagles before Elle Hansen scored off a pass from Amonte more than halfway through the first quarter. As BC dominated the ball, the NU defense couldn’t come up with a solution. The Eagles shot three more goals, including another from Smith, while Amonte tallied one more point for the ‘Cats on a free position to trail 5-2.

Scane is a pivotal part of this squad, but top-tier teams like Boston College are going to find ways to limit her production. Kelly Amonte Hiller has to have players immediately fill that void when it happens — and at this level of play, it will. The Eagles may have never let the ‘Cats get closer than two points in these 15 minutes, but Northwestern's competitive spirit was reignited, as it adjusted to how the defense doubled Scane.

After Boston College scored, Northwestern responded with two goals on as many possessions. The first came from Erin Coykendall and the second came from Amonte, assisted by Taylor. Before the half ended, Taylor and Amonte each put up a goal, while Jenn Medjid and Kayla Martello notched two each to give the Eagles a 10-6 lead.

Beginning with three Wildcat goals, the third quarter was all Northwestern. Scane, who could not be tamed any longer, initiated the scoring and posted two goals in the quarter. Taylor and Amonte also put up two and one, respectively. It took over 10 minutes for the Eagles to find the back of the cage, which only happened twice as the ‘Cats dwindled the lead to 12-11.

A one-goal game in the final minutes between these two programs is about as good as it gets. It can not be overstated enough: this is the highest quality of lacrosse you will see.

Cassidy Weeks opened up the scoring of the remaining minutes, earning herself a hat trick and extending Boston College’s advantage to two. Scane, ready for her own hat trick, responded on a free position. For Scane, though, there are never enough goals, and she wouldn’t settle at three. Her 19th goal of the season evened the score for the first time since the game began. It was none other than Amonte who scored off a free position to give the ‘Cats their first lead of the day. Extending that lead, Emerson Bohlig buried her fist goal of the season in the bottom left corner, which proved to be the difference.

In addition to Amonte’s career day, Molly Laliberty proved she can anchor this team. Trailing by just one goal, Weeks, who had a stellar game, was brought to the eight-meter. Laliberty did not just make a game-winning save, she made an objectively sensational one. Laliberty has four years of Division III experience at Tufts, but playing the best Division I teams is a different game. She’s still adjusting, but Amonte Hiller couldn’t be any happier with her performance thus far and her nine-save performance against the Eagles.

The win over Boston College is huge for the ‘Cats. As an indicator of morale and talent, it shows Northwestern is capable of clawing its way out of any situation and is among the best of the best. NU and BC matched each other relatively evenly with the exception of the first quarter. Boston College has dominated the draw in its first few games, winning 30 of 46 headed into Evanston. For Northwestern, its 16 draw controls in comparison to Boston College’s 17 is a success. Samantha Smith took the most for the ‘Cats with seven and is showing she fits the role that Jill Girardi came to dominate last season.

A 2-1 record after facing Syracuse, Notre Dame and Boston College is something to be proud of. Northwestern should remain among the top five in the nation and continue to thrive, but it needs to focus on building a solid, communicative defense and a rotation of shooters that can step up without hesitation.

The ‘Cats move past one of the toughest stretches of their schedule to face Marquette on Thursday, Feb. 23.