Two schools met Thursday night at the Big House in Ann Arbor, one a national powerhouse and the other a program trying to make a name for itself. The underdog program, in just its second year of existence, hung around at the beginning, but little by little, the big dog program pulled away and prevailed by a wide margin.
However, the national powerhouse running away with a win in the Big House was not the historic stadium's maize and blue clad tenants, but rather the sixth-ranked Northwestern women's lacrosse team (7-3, 1-1 B1G), which used a late 5-0 burst at the end of the first half to put away the Wolverines (5-6, 0-2 B1G) easily, 17-8.
Coming off a 12-10 home victory over tenth-ranked Louisville, the 'Cats rode some of that momentum to a 3-0 start. Michigan swung right back, matching NU goal for goal over a 14 minute stretch and making the score 6-3 in favor of NU with 11:34 left in the first half. But NU closed the half on a 5-0 run with two goals each from freshman Selena Lasota and senior Kara Mupo, as well as one from junior Kaleigh Craig, to take an 11-3 lead to intermission.
Michigan scored first out of the break to cut the lead to seven, but NU went on another run, this one of the 4-0 variety, to officially put the game out of reach. In the waning minutes, a couple of 'Cats achieved personal milestones, with freshmen Iona Dryden and Hayley Ciklin scoring the first goals of their collegiate careers.
Northwestern's success was keyed by its dominance in the center circle, as it won the draw control battle 14-1 in the first half, and 23-4 overall. Freshman Shelby Fredericks led the way in that regard, putting up nine draw controls, good for a tie for sixth best in a single game in the history of the program. Keeping the Wolverines on their heels the whole night, the 'Cats were also absurdly accurate, scoring 17 of their 19 shots on goal. Lasota led all goal scorers with six, and Mupo finished a close second with four.
The 'Cats will come back home to face eleventh-ranked Penn in a classic Kellogg vs. Wharton business school showdown on Sunday. Fans are encouraged to wear tailored suits and bring laminated copies of their résumés to Lakeside Field for the 12 p.m. opening draw.*
*this is facetious, and laminating your résumé is for chumps