Early OT Goal Sends UNC Past Northwestern
EVANSTON, Ill. — North Carolina and Northwestern staged another women's lacrosse nail biter Sunday, but the fourth-ranked Tar Heels put an end to the drama swiftly, defeating the 12th-ranked Wildcats 9-8 on senior attacker Aly Messinger's goal just 14 seconds into overtime.
Northwestern sophomore star Selena Lasota, blunted by faceguards for nearly the entire game, broke free on the Wildcats' last-ditch effort to score with five seconds left to send it to overtime. Northwestern had caused a turnover on its defensive endline with 22 seconds remaining, after which freshman goalie Mallory Weisse sent a long outlet that sophomore Shelby Fredericks corralled at midfield. Fredericks found junior midfielder Catie Ingrilli, who fed Lasota on the crease for the goal.
But the good vibes didn't last long. North Carolina senior Sammy Jo Tracy, who scored between the legs with her back to the goal in the first half, pulled the opening draw of overtime into the Tar Heels' offensive end. Fifth-year midfielder Kelly Devlin came up with the ball and was fouled. Upon the restart, she fed junior Molly Hendrick on the left side, who one-touched it across the crease to Messinger, whose lefty quick-stick ended it.
North Carolina, which has won four of the last five games in the series against Northwestern, improved to 7-2, its only losses coming against No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 Florida. But Sunday's win may have come at a cost. Junior Sydney Holman and freshman Olivia Ferrucci both left the game with apparent lower extremity injuries, with Holman relegated to crutches on the sideline during the second half.
Sophomore midfielder Marie McCool and Messinger led the Tar Heels with two goals apiece. Hendrick finished with a goal and three assists, including on the game-winner.
Fredericks and senior midfielder Kaleigh Craig scored three goals each for the Wildcats, who fell to 3-4 despite winning 13 of 19 draw controls and a solid performance by Weisse (nine saves).
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