There is an old Irish prophecy that foretells two great home defeats at the hands of two purple clad felines from a not so far off land – one male by the force of his foot and one female by the force of her netted stick.
After sophomore kicker Jack Mitchell fulfilled his end of the prophecy on the gridiron in November, senior attacker Kara Mupo fulfilled hers on the lacrosse field, coming up with an interception in the closing seconds to preserve a huge 10-9 win for No. 7 Northwestern (10-4, 2-1 B1G) over No. 10 Notre Dame (9-6, 3-3 ACC) in South Bend on Thursday night.
A late go-ahead goal by sophomore midfielder Sheila Nesselbush gave the 'Cats a one goal lead, and NU survived a turnover with 18 seconds left when Mupo stepped in front of a Stephanie Toy pass with five seconds left, secured possession and iced the game. It was exactly the type of wild, hard-fought game one might expect to take place between two top-10 teams.
The Irish and the 'Cats traded goals early, but NU went on a 3-0 run, all goals scored by freshman attacker Selena Lasota, who finished with four, to grab a 4-1 lead with 19:15 left in the first half. Notre Dame refused to roll over, and scored three of the next four goals to cut Northwestern's lead to just 5-4 at halftime, setting up a wild second half.
Over the final 20 minutes, there were four lead changes, and neither team led by more than one goal. Notre Dame grabbed its first lead of the game, 7-6, 12 minutes into the second half, with a goal from Rachel Sexton, but the 'Cats responded quickly, tying things back up at seven just 1:12 later with a goal from junior midfielder Kaleigh Craig.
A few minutes later, after UND and NU traded goals and were locked at eight, the Irish's Stephanie Toy waited just 39 seconds after an equalizer from Mupo to give UND a 9-8 lead with 10:33 left.
Craig equalized again for the 'Cats with 4:56 left to achieve a hat trick, and after winning the ensuing draw control, Nesselbush threaded one through the five hole at the 3:44 mark to give NU a lead it would not relinquish.
Northwestern will be home for its final two games of the regular season, both in conference and against opponents ranked in the top 20. The 12th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions will make the trek to Evanston for a noon game on Sunday before the 20th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes come to town the following Saturday for a 2 p.m. game.