No. 2 Northwestern Escapes No. 4 Virginia in Overtime
EVANSTON, Ill. – Following a 57-minute weather delay, the No. 2 Northwestern women’s lacrosse team fought off a one-goal deficit in the remaining 7:31 of regulation to force its first overtime period at Lakeside Field since 2004 and defeat No. 4 Virginia, 11-8, Friday evening. The Wildcats used four-straight goals following the delay to pick up the win and improve to 14-1 on the season, while the Cavaliers close out their regular season with a 13-5 record.
Tonight’s game was broadcast by the Big Ten Network in a tape delay, with the contest being aired tonight at 11 p.m. It will also be shown Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and 10 p.m., in addition to Monday at 6 p.m.
Three Cavaliers tallied two scores for Virginia, led by sophomores Charlie Finnigan and Julie Gardner – who each contributed three points. Senior All-American Kaitlin Duff had two goals, while senior All-American Brittany Kalkstein and freshman Anne Thomas each had one goal and one assist. Freshman Caroline McTiernan rounded out the scoring with one helper.
For Northwestern, Katrina Dowd scored four goals, including the game winner in overtime, while Shannon Smith also tacked on four scores. Erin Fitzgerald, Danielle Spencer and Alexandra Frank all had one goal for the Wildcats.
The Cavaliers opened play taking the first few shots, but they were unable to find the back of the net right away. It wasn’t until redshirt junior Lauren Benner picked up one of her 10 first-half saves that it sparked Virginia to take advantage of its opportunity. Following Benner’s save, Duff scooped up the loose ball and passed it to Thomas who ran the length of the field and dished it to Finnigan, who notched the first score of the game at 23:39.
Northwestern answered with a goal at 16:55, but Thomas would find the back of the net 1:41 later – assisted by Gardner – to give Virginia another one-goal advantage, at 2-1.
The Wildcats were able to even the score at two with 9:57 on the clock, and due to a score with less than five seconds remaining before halftime, the ‘Cats took a 3-2 lead into the intermission.
In a downpour throughout the second half, Northwestern got the scoring started with a goal at 27:12, but the Cavaliers responded with back-to-back goals within nine second of each other to knot the score at 4-4 with 26:53 to play.
Finnigan recorded her second goal of the game at 27:02 to pull Virginia within one, before winning the ensuing draw control and sparking a fast break opportunity for the Cavaliers. Finnigan found McTiernan on the transition play, who weaved through traffic and drew enough defenders to find Gardner wide open in front of the cage. Gardner capitalized on the pass, tallying a goal at 26:53.
Gardner then converted a free position shot at 19:03 to give Virginia its first lead of the second half, 5-4.
Northwestern evened the score at 18:15 and then broke the stalemate with another score at 17:49, before Kalkstein fired an 8-meter shot into the net at 16:39 to bring the score to 6-6.
Another score from the Wildcats gave Northwestern a 7-6 advantage at 9:36. Duff then notched back-to-back goals to give Virginia a one-point lead, 8-7, leading into the weather delay at 7:31.
Following almost an hour after the stoppage of play, the teams re-took the field and although the game remained scoreless for almost seven minutes, Northwestern received a goal from Spencer with 50.2 seconds to go to tie the game and force overtime.
The Wildcats tacked on three-unanswered goals in the opening three minutes of the overtime period to escape with the win, 11-8.
Defensively, the Cavaliers – anchored by Benner – held the nation’s most potent attack to an output well below their season average of 16.71 goals per game. Benner collected a career-high 13 saves and five ground balls to lead the way, while Kalkstein had five ground balls and three draw controls. Sophomore Bailey Fogarty had three ground balls and two draw controls.
Virginia will now await word on its postseason fate. The NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed Sunday, May 9, between 10-11 p.m., on CBS College Sports Network’s exclusive airing of the NCAA Lacrosse Selection Special.