No Lasota, no problem for the Wildcats.
Northwestern (2-0) overcame poor draw control performance and star attacker Selena Lasota's injury to overwhelm Dartmouth (0-1) at Ryan Fieldhouse. Strong performances from Julie Krupnick, Lindsey McKone, and Lauren Gilbert helped lead the ‘Cats to victory, setting the ‘Cats up for a revenge match against #25 Duke on Sunday.
The ‘Cats began the game with a solid defensive stand that portended similar play for the rest of the night. Led by Krupnick’s 16 saves, Northwestern’s defense proved a challenge for Dartmouth’s attack in the first half. Two quick goals from Lasota opened the scoring for the Wildcats, before the Big Green quickly responded with two of their own. Five minutes into the match, Northwestern had still not won a single draw control, and draw control specialist Brennan Dwyer was taken out. With the ‘Cats clinging onto a draw by forcing a few turnovers, Lasota went down with an apparent injury with 23:51 left in the first half.
Down their leading scorer, the ‘Cats didn’t wilt under the pressure. Despite badly losing the draw control battle, the ‘Cats maintained a steady lead in the first half. Liza Elder scored on Northwestern’s first free position shot of the match to give the ‘Cats the lead. Northwestern kept slowly built their lead, thanks to some timely turnovers and excellent defending.
Jill Girardi scored the goal of the match, giving the 'Cats a 6-4 advantage, with a solo run from half-court from which she cut inside and scored as she was going to ground. By half, Northwestern led 12-5, although Dartmouth dominated draw controls by a 15-3 margin. Nine Big Green turnovers and ten Krupnick 10 saves were the difference. Northwestern converted 12 of their 23 shots despite Lasota’s absence.
Northwestern maintained their second half lead for the entire second half as Dartmouth barely challenged the ‘Cats lead the rest of the match. McKone scored her third of the match with a beautiful wraparound run followed by a low shot that went through the legs of Big Green goalie Kiera Vrindten for a 14-8 lead.
Hiller brough Dwyer back into the match, where she promptly asserted the draw control dominance that the ‘Cats had missed earlier. Her six draw controls in the latter frame of the match prevented a Dartmouth comeback. Megan Duffy’s second goal of the night clinched a 21-15 victory for the ‘Cats.
The loss of Lasota did not sting the ‘Cats, who were paced by McKone’s three goals and four assists as well as Gilbert’s four goals. While ‘Cats fans will monitor her condition closely, he rest of the team’s performance ensured that even without their star, Northwestern won’t miss a beat.
The ‘Cats play their second match on Sunday against #24 Duke at Ryan Fieldhouse at noon.