Second half surge not enough as women's lacrosse falls to Penn

    At one point Sunday, Northwestern women’s lacrosse team trailed by seven goals in the second half and seemed to be on its way to its second straight blowout loss.

    In the next 24 minutes, they outscored Penn 8-1 to force overtime.

    But it was not enough. Despite a furious second half rally from the No. 8 Northwestern Wildcats (4-6, 0-1 Big Ten), Nina Corcoran scored just under three minutes into the extra frame to hand the No. 16 Penn Quakers (7-3) a 14-13 overtime win.

    Just three days removed from their 17-4 demolition at the hands of top-ranked Maryland, the Wildcats looked to regain their footing Sunday in Philadelphia. But the Quakers had other plans, scoring less than a minute in. Northwestern recovered however, jumping out to a 4-3 lead with 10:10 left in the first half thanks to a hat trick from Christina Esposito. The redshirt junior picked up her 12th goal of the season less than 13 minutes after she tallied her tenth.

    Danita Stroup’s tie-breaking goal at 10:10 seemed to rally the Quakers, as they leveled the score less than a minute later before striking three more times before halftime to head into the break with a 7-4 lead. Senior attacker Iris Williamson netted four goals herself in the first half, raising her season total to 21.

    But the Quakers weren’t done there, scoring twice more in the first minute after halftime to bump their lead up to 9-4. Northwestern got one back, but then the Quakers tallied thrice more, including a pair from sophomore Alex Condon to complete her hat trick, to bump their lead up to 12-5, their largest lead of the game, with 24:35 remaining.

    The Wildcats could’ve given up. They could’ve resigned themselves to their second consecutive loss. But they didn’t. Instead, the Wildcats, seemingly galvanized after head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller called a timeout following Penn’s 12th goal, engineered a comeback for the ages.

    Northwestern scored six times in the following 14 minutes, led by a pair each from Kaleigh Craig and Shelby Fredericks, cutting Penn’s lead to just one with 10:49 on the clock. The Quakers stopped the bleeding with a goal of their own with 6:22 showing, but the Wildcats weren’t done. Craig tallied her fourth of the game and 22nd of the season to cut the deficit back to, before Shelby Fredericks fed Catie Ingrilli in front of the net, and the junior buried the equalizer, leveling the score at 13-all with 3:18 showing.

    But in the end, it was all for naught. The Wildcats won the draw control to start the extra session, but Penn senior Nina Corcoran wound her way behind the cage before burying the game-winner, her 11th goal of the season, with 2:02 left in overtime.

    Both Esposito and Craig produced five-point games for the ‘Cats with four goals and an assist apiece, and Fredericks continued to be a force in the draw control circle, winning 10 of Northwestern’s 16 draw. No Penn player had more than three faceoff wins. Neither team’s goaltender really stood out in this offensive outburst, as both Northwestern freshman Mallory Weisse and Penn senior Courtney Rushford made three saves. Rushford, however, was pulled after allowing Northwestern’s ninth goal. Freshman goaltender Maggie Smith didn’t fare much better in her 14 minutes of play, allowing four goals and making no saves.

    Northwestern will look to get back on track at home Thursday against Michigan (5-7, 0-1 B1G), which currently sits at fifth in the six-team Big Ten.


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