(ISN) – Evanston, Ill. — Northwestern stormed out of the gates, saw No. 11 Penn rally to force overtime and ultimately came away victorious on junior Kaleigh Craig’s game-winning goal with just 13 seconds left in a thrilling affair at Lakeside Field Sunday afternoon, 9-8.
The Quakers held possession with under two minutes to play in the first overtime when a double team by the Wildcats’ defense forced a timeout with 1:20 to play. The timeout didn’t do the Quakers much good however, as senior Mikaela Bozza caused a turnover and picked up a ground ball seven seconds out of the break to give the ‘Cats possession.
The ‘Cats moved the ball up field and calmly put the ball in the stick of its most dynamic score keeper Selena Lasota. As the defense slid to Lasota on the outside of the fan, it left Craig 1-on-1 with a defender on the right side whom she beat right before going through the legs of the goalkeeper for the game-winning goal.
Craig finished the game with a pair goals as Chicago’s Big Ten Team improved to 8-3 on the season. The loss was just the Quakers’ second of the year as they fell to 9-2.
It didn’t appear as if the ‘Cats would have much of a problem with the 11th-ranked visitors early on as they started the game on a 4-0 run with goals from four different players.
Lasota got things going in the sixth minute when she collected a ground ball off a saved shot and went behind the back for her 41st goal of the season. Sophomore Sheila Nesselbush put the ‘Cats up 2-0 at the 16:51 mark of the first half and senior Kara Mupo scored just 36 seconds later to push the lead to 3-0. Craig capped the run with her first goal of the contest with 13:54 remaining in the half.
Lasota answered a goal by Lindsey Smith only 38 seconds after the Quakers got on the board, but again Penn pulled within three on a goal by Iris Williamson with 10:50 to go in the half.
Junior Christina Esposito willed her way through the Penn defense with 3:39 to go in the half for her third goal of the season to extend the lead to 6-2, but a goal by Tory Bensen with just eight seconds left in the half made it a 6-3 ‘Cats’ advantage at the break.
While Northwestern dominated much of the first 30 minutes, the tides turned in the second half as the Quakers stymied the NU offense. Williamson scored on a free-position shot just over seven minutes into the second half, but Nesselbush converted a free-position of her own to push the lead back to three, 7-4.
After back-to-back goals by Penn cut its deficit to one, 7-6, Nesselbush recorded her second hat trick of the season on another 8-meter with 13:25 to put Northwestern ahead, 8-6.
Bensen scored again with 9:43 to play to cut the lead to one, 8-7, and ultimately tied the game with 1:36 left in regulation with her third tally of the contest. The Quakers caused a turnover on the ensuing possession, but Bensen’s shot went high sending the game to overtime.
Penn nearly struck first in the overtime period on a shot by Nina Corcoran, but her attempt hit the cross bar and was picked up by juniorSpring Sanders. Craig also had a shot in the first three minutes of the extra session, but her attempt was saved by Lucy Ferguson. Penn had one more chance before the caused turnover by Bozza, but opted not to take a shot on a free-position attempt.
Freshmen Lindsay Darrell and Shannon Nesselbush led the ‘Cats with three ground balls apiece, while the elder Nesselbush led the way with four draw controls.
Northwestern will be back in action on Friday, April 10 when it travels to Rutgers for a 6 p.m. affair. The ‘Cats will then continue their road trip two days later with a matchup against undefeated Stony Brook