Ever since last Sunday when the Northwestern women's lacrosse team knocked off Notre Dame to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and earn a rematch with conference rival Maryland, the talk around the program has been all about not repeating the results of the first matchup between those two teams on March 26, when the Terrapins ran away with a 16-5 win at Lakeside Field.
Despite a strong start from the 'Cats (14-7, 3-2 B1G), NU was unable to keep up with a dominant first-ranked Maryland team (19-1, 5-0 B1G), and fell 17-5, ending their season in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. Northwestern's loss ends a streak of 10 straight Final Four appearances.
The first half was a back and forth tussle, as the teams jockeyed for momentum but were never able to grab a lead larger than three goals. Selena Lasota and Sheila Nesselbush, the usual suspects, scored all four first half goals for the Wildcats, all unassisted. Maryland led 6-4 at the halftime whistle, but NU was seemingly in good shape, having won the draw control battle 8-3 and outshooting the Terps 13-7 in the first 30 minutes.
But the second half was a completely different animal. Maryland scored nine straight goals over a 19 minute stretch, extending its lead to 15-4 and putting the game on ice. Kaleigh Craig got the 'Cats out of their funk with a goal with 9:52 remaining, but that was all Northwestern could muster against a ferocious Terrapin defense.
Maryland capitalized on 21 second half Northwestern fouls (a battle NU lost 33-12 overall), and also regained the draw control advantage, winning the second half battle 8-5.
Ten seniors depart after this season, but the 'Cats will bring back their leading goal scorer, Lasota, and other core players next season as they seek to start a new streak of Final Four appearances under Coach Kelly Amonte Hiller.