In front of a sold out crowd at Ryan Fieldhouse, the ninth-ranked ‘Cats (4-3) faced off against #1 Boston College (8-0) after a dud against North Carolina last weekend. Despite a legitimate home-court advantage, Northwestern couldn’t keep up with BC’s high-powered attack in the second half, dropping their third match of the season 22-17.
The first half was a series of runs, indicative of the scoring prowess both sides had as neither team could pull away for good. Liza Elder (2 goals) opened the scoring 40 seconds into the match, but Boston College responded with two goals of their own. This back and forth continued until the Eagles opened up a three goal advantage on the back of leading attackers Kenzie Kent (5 goals), Dempsey Arsenault (7 goals), and Sam Apuzzo (2 goals), who had previously combined for 68 of BC’s goals this season. The ‘Cats came back from deficits of 6-3 and 8-4, even though the Eagles led the way in draw controls and ground balls during the half.
On offense, Boston College patiently kept the ball behind the net, probing until they could take advantage of a slow foot by a Northwestern defender before passing into the runner cutting into the crease. Julie Krupnick (10 saves) made six saves on the half, and did well to stop every BC free position shot, but the ‘Cats were done in by low shots from the crease.
Down 4-8, Northwestern locked down defensively and goals by Claire Quinn (1 goal), Lauren Gilbert (2 goals), and Selena Lasota (5 goals) bought the ‘Cats close, and a buzzer beater by Lindsey McKone ended a fantastic second-half spurt from Northwestern. By half, the ‘Cats managed to bring the deficit to one at 8-9 despite being losing the ground ball battle 13-6 and the draw control battle 12-5.
The second half opened with Lasota scoring within 20 seconds, but the lead see-sawed between the two powers. BC started landing their free position shots, but the turning point of the match occurred when Quinn was called for a crease violation after a beautiful inside cut left her in an almost one-on-one with the goalie. Arsenault scored for the Eagles within 30 seconds, and BC didn’t look back. By the 19 minute mark, they had built a four goal lead at 15-11.
Lasota scored two solo goals to keep the match close, but the ‘Cats couldn’t stop BC’s attack. Three consecutive goals from Arsenault effectively put the game out of reach for Northwestern, as the Eagles built their lead up to seven. Despite some late goals, BC pulled away to win 22-17.
The ‘Cats have yet to win a match against a top-15 opponent, and simply couldn’t stop Boston College’s second half surge after Quinn’s crease violation. Although these results don’t bode well for the later stages of the NCAA tournament, the ‘Cats still display the tantalizing talent that can take them far in April and May. Lasota paced the squad with five goals, while first-year Izzy Scane, Gilbert and McKone chipped in four total points apiece.
Northwestern will have the chance to end their two match losing streak at Rutgers (4-3) at 6 p.m. on March 9 for their Big Ten opener.