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Rapid Reaction: Northwestern lacrosse defeats Syracuse 18-15 in season opener

This time around: Syracuse tried to claw back, but Northwestern never surrendered.


On Saturday, Northwestern lacrosse opened up its season with an 18-15 win over Syracuse, avenging its only loss from last season. The Wildcats’ lead ranged from as much as six goals at the end of the first quarter to just one goal in the middle of the fourth quarter, but they ultimately were able to hamper the Orange’s late comeback.

Sophomore Madison Taylor and graduate student Erin Coykendall both scored four goals each, while graduate students Izzy Scane and Lindsey Frank tallied two. In addition, Coykendall had four assists. On the defensive end, seniors Carleigh Mahoney and Kendall Halpern both had three caused turnovers, while graduate student Molly Lalibety had seven saves.

The Wildcats outshot the Orange 41-28 and won the draw battle 24 to 13.

Taylor started things off with a bang, scoring on the game’s first drive. The Wildcats’ dynamic duo continued the momentum, as graduate student Scane assisted Coykendall to make it 2-0.

Syracuse took advantage of being two players up with graduate student Dylan Amonte and Taylor being issued green and yellow cards, respectively. Maddy Baxter dished a goal to the Orange its first points. However, it didn’t take long for Coykendall to respond with her second goal of the game in the very next play.

Scane scored her first goal of the season on the ‘Cats next possession, capitalizing off of a save from graduate student Laliberty. Laliberty continued to stop the Orange from scoring, saving Syracuse’s next two shots. However, Emma Muchnick made the score 4-2 off a free position shot.

Frank, Taylor, Amonte, and Coykendall all got a goal apiece, with NU ending the first quarter up 8-2.

Northwestern won the first draw control of the second quarter, but a turnover from Coykendall led to Syracuse’s Natalie Smith scoring a goal. But for the third time this game, the Wildcats fired back immediately as Coykendall scored her fourth of the game.

Following the Coykendall goal, the Wildcats had turnovers on consecutive offensive possessions, allowing Syracuse’s Olivia Adamson and Emma Tyrell to score and reduce NU’s lead to four. But the Orange couldn’t quite stop the Scane train, as No. 27 fired a shot to bring her team to double-digit goals.

Adamson scored yet another goal, helping Syracuse score on its third straight offensive possession.

Junior Samantha White put a halt to the momentum, causing a turnover while Northwestern was down three players.

With just two minutes left, junior Samantha Smith scored Northwestern’s first goal in six minutes. The Wildcats ended the second quarter leading 11-6.

Syracuse started the second half with two goals — one from Natalie Smith and another from Baxter as the Wildcats struggled to keep the ball. Frank responded with her second goal of the game, delivering Northwestern’s first points of the half, but the Orange tacked on one more on a free position to make it 12-9.

The Wildcats brought their lead back to five as Taylor and White both scored, with White’s goal coming off the heels of a Laliberty save and a caused turnover from senior Carliegh Mahoney. To close off the quarter, Adamson and Taylor both added another goal, keeping NU ahead 15-10 into the final frame.

To kick off the fourth quarter, Adamson scored on a behind-the-back shot for Syracuse — her fourth of the game. She then scored another, before her team called a timeout. Emma Ward then scored two straight, cutting Northwestern’s lead to one for the first time since the start of the game.

Frank scored the first goal of the quarter for the Wildcats to stop the bleeding, which was followed by another goal from Scane. The Orange scored off a free position in the final seconds of the game, but it didn’t matter as Northwestern claimed an 18-15 win.

The ‘Cats are back in action on Friday to face Notre Dame in South Bend.