Just call them the Cardiac ‘Cats.
No. 5 Northwestern won its second women’s lacrosse game of the year on Saturday, slipping past No. 7 Virginia, 6-5, in an absolute nail-biter.
The game, played on the campus of Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, Georgia, featured two teams that are expected to contend for both conference and national titles this season. And it certainly lived up to its billing.
For Northwestern, the game began much like Saturday’s season opener against USC. The Cavaliers scored just 11 seconds into the game and added another early goal to go up 2-0 in the first half. But Northwestern was quick to respond with a pair of goals of their own, as Sheila Nesselbush and Selena Lasota tied things up for the Wildcats. A Kaleigh Craig goal before halftime would give the ‘Cats a 3-2 lead at the break.
In the first half, Northwestern was efficient on offense and created tons of scoring opportunities within the Virginia crease. Lasota generated four shots on goal throughout the game, powering the ‘Cats attack. The freshman has already made her presence felt at the collegiate level, scoring six goals through Northwestern’s first two games of the year.
The second half got off to a dream start for the ‘Cats, as they would extend their lead to 5-2, before the Cavaliers made a run that turned the tide of the game.
Virginia’s plodding offensive attack began dominating possession and wearing the ‘Cats down defensively. Several draw control victories allowed the Cavaliers to set up camp on Northwestern’s side of the field and claw their way back into the game. It wasn’t long before Virginia tied the game, 5-5, and set the stage for another dramatic finish.
The deciding goal would come when Nesselbush was fouled in the crease and award a free-position shot. She found the back of the net to put the ‘Cats on top, 6-5, with 3:30 left in the game. Northwestern would hang on from there to escape Atlanta with the victory.
The women return to action on Thursday, when they take on Duke in their first “home” game of the season, played at an indoor facility in Northbrook, Illinois.