KENNESAW, Ga. -- Northwestern's 2014 season-opener will be hard to top in terms of excitement the rest of the year.
After trailing No. 8 Virginia at halftime and trading goals for most of the second half, Northwestern broke a 12-12 tie with 17 seconds left when senior Kate Macdonald converted an 8-meter goal to lift the fourth-ranked Wildcats to a 13-12 victory Sunday at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
The win was the eighth in a row for Northwestern against Virginia despite the Cavaliers entering halftime with a lead for a fourth consecutive time against the Wildcats.
Macdonald led all Wildcats scorers with three goals on the afternoon, with fellow seniors Alyssa Leonard and Kara Mupo joining sophomore Kaleigh Craig with two apiece.
Returning All-American goalkeeper Bridget Bianco deserves much of the credit for the Wildcats win, recording a career-best 14 saves to finish one shy of the Northwestern single-game record. Bianco's final save came on an excellent scoring opportunity for Virginia's Courtney Swan, keeping the score tied at 12 with 54 seconds left and setting up Northwestern's game-winning offensive possession.