SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Junior Selena Lasota scored four goals, senior Christina Esposito and freshman Megan Kinna each tallied three and sophomore Mallory Weissemade 10 saves as No. 9 Northwestern went into the Loftus Sports Center and won a top 10 showdown with No. 8 Notre Dame Sunday afternoon, 14-13.
The Wildcats claimed their 18th win in 22 meetings with the Fighting Irish all time, improving to 7-1 in South Bend. The victory avenged the 'Cats' lone road loss to the Irish that ended last season in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
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Despite the victory, inconsistency by the 'Cats at times allowed Notre Dame to remain within reach. After allowing the opening goal of the game, Northwestern responded by scoring eight of the game's next nine goals, including a 6-0 run.
The Irish tied the game at the 21:54 mark of the first half, 2-2, but the 'Cats quickly took over as Kinna and senior Catie Ingrilli scored back-to-back free-position goals within two minutes to start the 6-0 run. Senior Danita Stroup scored her second goal of the year and Lasota sandwiched a pair of goals around a tally by Esposito to extend the lead to 8-2 with 14:47 to go in the first half.
BALL GAME! The #B1GCats take down No. 8 @NDWomensLax in a thrilling top-10 showdown, 14-13. pic.twitter.com/Ox6Zt2W06u— Northwestern Lax (@NULax) February 5, 2017
Kinna's second goal of the day extended the lead back to five at 9-4, but Notre Dame scored five unanswered in less than six minutes to tie the game, 9-9. NU was able to take a 10-9 lead into the break on Esposito's second goal of the game.
The offense and defense synced up for a stellar 20-minute stretch to start the second half, allowing the 'Cats to take back control of the game. Esposito netted her second hat trick in as many games just a minute and a half into the second frame before the Canadian connection of Kinna and Lasota pushed the lead to four, 13-9, with back-to-back goals.
22:50 (2) — HAT TRICK! Kinna goes five hole for her third of the game. Wessels again on the feed. #B1GCats lead, 12-9. pic.twitter.com/8vO344IlKe— Northwestern Lax (@NULax) February 5, 2017
All the while, Weisse made save after save to keep the Irish off the board. The sophomore had eight of her 10 saves in the second half.
Junior Nicole Beardsley scored her first goal of the season on a free-position with 11:23 to play to make it a 14-11 game, but the Wildcats weren't able to put things away without a fight by the Irish.
Notre Dame pulled within two with 1:52 to play on a goal by Savannah Buchanan and the 'Çats were assessed a yellow card. A second yellow put NU two women down at the 1:07 mark, allowing the Irish to cut the deficit to one on a goal by Grace Muller.
Lasota won the ensuing draw control following a timeout and the 'Cats ran out the clock to secure the win. The junior finished with four draw controls, three ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers to lead the way. Sophomore Claire Quinn had three draw controls and a caused turnover and junior Sheila Nesselbush netted her first goal of the year.