THE DAY AFTER: Northwestern 10, Penn 6

Video~Penn Women's Lacrosse All-Access: Season Wrap-Up

TOWSON, Md. - As we sit here in our hotel room, looking around and trying to figure out where to start with our packing for the return trip home to Philadelphia, we cannot help but be a little wistful at the wonderful weekend we have experienced down here in Towson. Anyone who stuck around last night knows how special it was, with all the parents and the friends of the program throwing a tailgate to end all tailgates in one of the parking lots outside of Unitas Stadium. Just a spectacular evening with great people celebrating an incredible season.

Some final thoughts on the game...

A lot of people would see a 10-6 score and think that plays right into Penn’s hands – and it probably does. But unfortunately Northwestern used the Quakers’ approach offensively, especially in the first half, and used it effectively. Actually, when you think about the game, the teams both went against their usual patterns in the game. NU, which is quick-strike and third in the nation in scoring, was pretty deliberate all night. Penn, on the other hand, changed tactics at halftime and was very aggressive going to goal.

Looking at the stats, what probably stands out the most is the shot chart – Penn outshot Northwestern, 20-19. That tells you two things: first, the Quakers’ defense, as expected, was staunch; second, with 10 goals on 19 shots, the Wildcats were extremely efficient with their opportunities. Ground balls were pretty even (NU 13, Penn 12), not surprising given the aggressive nature of both squads when the ball is on the floor. Draw controls – that ever-important stat – went in the Wildcats’ favor, 11-7. Northwestern was a little more careless with the ball, committing 17 turnovers to Penn’s 13. Both teams had 17 fouls.

Individually, we expected to see Northwestern’s Hannah Nielsen and Hilary Bowen stand out, and they did – Nielsen had three goals and three assists, while Bowen scored three times (giving her nine for the weekend) and dished off an assist. However, the ‘Cats showed their balance by having five different players score their five first-half goals. For Penn, Ali DeLuca had a pair of goals, and then four other players scored once apiece (Rachel Manson, Emma Spiro, Chelsea Kocis, Kaitlyn Lombardo).

In the battle of the goalies, it looks like Morgan Lathrop may have won it this time. Northwestern’s junior made 11 saves, some in spectacular fashion (the stop she made on Manson’s free-position shot at the end of the first half was sick). By contrast, Waxman came up with six saves. That said, we are still struggling to think of any “soft” goals for either keeper last night; there really weren’t any.

The play of the game? It probably came in the final minute of the first half. With the score still 4-2, Penn’s Giulia Giordano got open in front of the NU goal for a shot. Wildcat goalkeeper Morgan Lathrop came up with the save, however, and the ‘Cats quickly moved the ball downfield resulting in a goal by Meredith Frank with just 11 seconds left. Instead of 4-3 heading into the break, the Quakers were down 5-2. It proved to be too much.

Another key run? After Northwestern snapped Penn’s three-goal run and made the score 9-6, the Quakers had a lengthy offensive possession with a lot of shots that would not go. DeLuca had a free-position shot that was denied by Lathrop, and Allison Ambrozy hit the post not once but twice in a span of 15 seconds. When things like that happen, you start thinking maybe it is not your night.