No. 7 Northwestern (3-0) took on Duke (2-1) at Ryan Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon for their third game of the 2019 season. The Wildcats were by far the favorite: they were higher ranked, had a 14-4 record all-time against the Blue Devils, and were the first ranked team the Blue Devils have faced this season. However, Northwestern was lucky to come away with a 21-20 win, as this game proved to be much more of a challenge for the Wildcats than expected.
The first half started out as an even match, with both teams’ leads staying at or below two points. A little over 10 minutes into the game, each team had won six draw controls and taken 10 shots. But soon enough, Duke began to dominate the game, gaining more and more draw controls and possession time. Behind hat tricks from both Olivia Jenner and Catherine Cordrey, the Blue Devils extended their lead to five points.
In the second part of the half, the Wildcats went on a scoring drought that stretched to almost 15 minutes. Luckily, Northwestern turned it around to score three goals in the last four minutes of the half, cutting Duke’s lead to just two points. Sophomore Lauren Gilbert led Northwestern with 2 goals in the first half.
The beginning of the second half remained close until Northwestern went on a big run to turn a 10-12 deficit into a 16-12 advantage. Without standout attacker Selena Lasota, other players such as Lauren Gilbert, Izzy Scane and Claire Quinn stepped up offensively for the Wildcats.
But with 15 minutes remaining, the score was once again knotted at 16-16. Both teams went back and forth until Olivia Jenner’s fifth goal of the game put Duke ahead by one. Charlotte North also clocked her fifth goal of the game, giving Duke a 20-18 advantage with a little over seven minutes left. Duke continued to dominate the draw, totaling 25 draw controls compared to Northwestern’s 15. Freshman Maddie Jenner tallied 13 draw controls for the Blue Devils, while her sister recorded 8.
As the clock ran down, intensity picked up in Ryan Fieldhouse, and Liza Elder scored off a free position to tie the game at 20-20. With less than 30 seconds left, Lindsey McKone whipped around the crease to put the ‘Cats up by one. And finally, despite struggling with draws the entire game, Northwestern came up with a key draw control and ran out the clock win the game.