Early Run Enough for Northwestern to Hold Off Michigan 15-12


There’s just something about Northwestern-v-Michigan and three-goal games.

The Big Ten foes played to a three-goal final on March 26, a game in which Northwestern took over late to win. Under far different — and more dire — circumstances, nearly the same thing happened on Sunday.

Ahead by just one goal with 7:10 left in the third quarter, the Wildcats scored three straight to provide a much-needed cushion in a 15-12 win over the Wolverines. Fourth-seeded Northwestern is on the NCAA quarterfinals, where it will play fifth-seeded Syracuse on Thursday in Evanston.

Northwestern scored the first five goals of the afternoon, two each from Lauren Gilbert and Jill Girardi and another off the stick of Brennan Dwyer. Northwestern led 7-1 with 7:04 left in the first half after Elle Hansen scored.

But Michigan, a team that’s experienced a fair bit of offensive inconsistency this spring, came to life. The Wolverines scored seven of the next nine goals, the last of which by Kaitlyn Mead with 7:10 left in the third quarter, and cut the deficit to 9-8.

That’s when the aforementioned 3-0 Northwestern run put the Wildcats back in control. Hansen, Leah Holmes and Dylan Amonte found paydirt in a three-minute span for a 12-8 lead.

Michigan threatened late. Jill Smith capitalized on a feed from Julia Schwabe to bring it within two, 14-12, with 6:18 to play, but the Wolverines would take just two more shots the rest of the way. Smith attempted a free position with 54 seconds left that went wide, and after Michigan retained possession, Caitlin Muir’s shot with 38 seconds left was saved by Madison Doucette.

Northwestern thoroughly dominated the circle, with Girardi’s 11 draw controls leading a 23-6 advantage.

Northwestern and Syracuse played earlier this season, a 16-15 overtime win for the Wildcats on March 1. That game was also in Evanston.


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