There was never a (reasonable) doubt. In the second round of the 2019 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship tournament, No. 4 Northwestern (15-4, 7-1 B1G) easily took down Notre Dame (14-5), 13-10, to advance to the quarterfinals vs. No. 5 Syracuse. The Wildcats raced out to an 8-0 lead and held the Fighting Irish to just two goals in the first half. Tewaaraton Award finalist Selena Lasota led the team.
The first half was all Northwestern. In their first game since their Big Ten Championship win over No. 1 Maryland, the ‘Cats maintained the positive momentum. Emily Stein (3 ground balls) gave Northwestern the lead less than a minute into the game with a free position goal. A yellow card on Lasota put the Wildcats down a man, but it did not matter: after a couple clear attempts, freshman phenom Izzy Scane (4 goals, 3 ground balls) notched her first goal to put the ‘Cats up by two.
The tables turned just a minute later when a Notre Dame yellow card put the Fighting Irish down a man, but the result was the same: Scane scored, assisted by Lasota. The goal was the 50th of the year for Scane, who was the Big Ten’s freshman of the year and trailed only Lasota among Northwestern scorers in the regular season.
Lasota scored two of the next three Northwestern goals in the next three minutes to give the Wildcats a 6-0 advantage and put them firmly in the driver’s seat. Notre Dame looked lost on offense, and Northwestern goalie Mallory Weisse racked up six saves in the half to deny the Fighting Irish when they did get opportunities.
After Lauren Gilbert added to the barrage with her first goal of the game off a Kim Harker forced turnover, Notre Dame changed goalies to Bridget Deehan, who was successful in slowing down the Northwestern assault. A largely defensive end to the first half saw Notre Dame convert a couple opportunities. Northwestern led 8-2 going into the half but had not scored in over 10 minutes.
The second half proved to be more evenly matched, but the Northwestern lead was too much for Notre Dame to overcome. After Lasota began the scoring in the half with her 77th goal of the season, Notre Dame scored four unanswered goals from four different players in a four-minute span. Two of the goals came off free position shots. The Wildcat defense - led by Weisse - then buckled down to prevent a collapse. A yellow card on NU’s Kate Copeland and a subsequent Notre Dame goal to cut the deficit to four made for a momentary scare, but the Wildcats rode out the penalty without Notre Dame having any more significant chances.
For all intents and purposes, the game was put away when Scane drove and scored unassisted to give Northwestern a 13-9 lead with 2:41 to go. The Wildcats went on to win 13-10.
Northwestern's next opponent, Syracuse, defeated Northwestern 15-14 in overtime back on February 24. The quarterfinal match up will take place on May 18 or 19 in Evanston.