Northwestern’s debut homestretch at Ryan Fieldhouse left fans agonizing for more as the ‘Cats won three tremendous matches over Louisville, Dartmouth and Duke. In each match, Northwestern revealed a different strength: depth and draw-control prowess against Louisville, defensive fortitude and shot-saving abilities against Dartmouth, and resiliency under a deficit against Duke. The latter two victories were especially impressive considering the Wildcats lost star attacker Selena Lasota to injury. From the offensive prowess of Lauren Gilbert to record-setting performances by Julie Krupnick, Northwestern proved that they belong with the class of the Big Ten, if not the top tier of powerhouses in the country.

NBN Sports took notes of trends, patterns and highlights from the first three matches at Ryan Fieldhouse.

Vs. Louisville:

-Led by Brennan Dwyer, The ‘Cats won faceoff draws with ease. The final tally was 19-13.

-The offense appears loaded. The ‘Cats scored 10 goals in 12 minutes, and 15 at halftime off 23 shots. 10 different Wildcats scored, including first year Izzy Scane.

-Amonte Hiller is relying on depth; five of seven first year players played during the match.

-The ‘Cats played with a very aggressive pace for the first 15 minutes of the first half before letting off offensively, but kept a consistent pressure throughout especially when Louisville cut deficit to nine in the second half.

-Lasota scored five for the game to lead the team, but the offense was well-balanced.

-The Wildcats forced 20 turnovers and went 21-36 on shots compared to 11-20 for Cardinals.

-Northwestern won with an all-around dominant effort in every facet of the game.

Vs. Dartmouth:

-Story of the match was Selena Lasota’s injury. She left with around 24 minutes left in the first half unable to walk under her own power, and didn’t return for the remainder of the match. She missed the next match against Duke as well.

-Despite Lasota, the ‘Cats scored 21 goals again, already matching the game-high from last season. Offense still dominant without Lasota, led by Gilbert, Quinn, and McKone.

-Draw control issues abounded; lost 27-11 on draws, but turnovers and Krupnick saves prevented Dartmouth’s offense from taking over the game.

-Eleven players scored goals, with seven scoring at least two.

-Krupnick with program record 16 saves, defense definitely helped by limiting Dartmouth shot selection and in forcing Dartmouth into 18 turnovers.

Vs. Duke:

-Won once again despite losing the draw control battle.

-Defense forced Duke into nearly eight minute scoreless drought to end the game.

-‘Cats come up clutch when they needed to be –  McKone turnover leads to Elder goal to tie the match, and McKone scored the winner with 25 seconds left.

-Northwestern was down by five, but showed resilience in clawing back from deficit to bring the Duke lead down to 2 at halftime.

-Lauren Gilbert coming into her own on offense with twelve goals this season alone. Although Lasota has been out for almost two games, the offense hasn’t let down.