Licking their wounds from Saturday’s embarrassing loss to Florida, the Wildcats proved they could bounce back with style as they defeated Notre Dame 10-8 on Wednesday.
As always, senior midfielder Erin Fitzgerald led the attack with three goals and one assist. But some new players also found their way into the midst of the action. Junior midfielder Kat DeRonda scored three goals off the bench.
In the first half, the two teams kept it close, with Northwestern leading 6-4 at the break. Sophomore goalie Bridget Bianco saved 64 percent of shots in the first half, improving from last weekend’s dismal 21 percent save rate.
Fitzgerald scored two of her three goals in the first half, one to open the half and another to close it. Northwestern’s other four goals were spread between different players, a good sign during the team’s last road game of the season before heading into the postseason.
Northwestern struggled in the first half with draw controls, a facet it usually commands. Junior attacker Alyssa Leonard won only three draws to Notre Dame’s seven. But in the second half, Leonard got the ‘Cats back on track, controlling six out of nine draws.
Some surprise players found the back of the Irish net, including sophomore midfielder Jess Carroll, who usually stays behind the restraining line on defense. DeRonda scored two goals and Fitzgerald finished out her hat three with another goal.
Notre Dame only held a lead once, a little over seven minutes into the game. After that, Northwestern halted any momentum Notre Dame managed to gain. Northwestern’s defense did a better job on defense and only allowed eight goals, a small fraction of Florida’s total.
The ‘Cats will return home on Saturday to face Penn at 1 p.m., the last game before the ALC tournament begins in Baltimore.