Northwestern at Stony Brook Lacrosse Preview

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Northwestern women’s lacrosse won their fourth straight game on Friday night after dominating a bottom-feeding Rutgers team. They face a much tougher test on Sunday.

The Wildcats (9-3) travel to New York to face #7 Stony Brook on Sunday, a team that leads the nation in scoring defense. The stingy Seawolves (11-1) are surrendering less than five goals per game this season, and have allowed six goals or more only three times this year. Northwestern, meanwhile, is allowing nearly 10 goals a game in 2015. Stony Brook is coming off its only defeat of the season, Tuesday’s 7-5 loss to Johns Hopkins, after winning its first 11 contests. The Seawolves play at Vermont on Saturday.

Kara Mupo’s four goals led the ‘Cats’ offense on Friday as they rolled to an 18-6 victory, sending the Scarlet Knights to their thirteenth straight defeat. The Wildcats must once again be up to the task offensively in order to break through Stony Brook’s sturdy defense; before the 18-goal outburst against Rutgers, Northwestern ranked only 50th in the nation in goals per game.

Seawolves goalkeeper Kaitlyn Leahy records only about four saves a game, meaning the Seawolves’ defense only surrenders about nine shots on goal each game. Northwestern, conversely, averages over 25 shots on goal per game this season and will need to produce several scoring chances to compensate for Stony Brook’s defensive discipline. The Wildcats will most likely continue to look to Mupo and freshman Selena Lasota, the team’s top goal scorers and biggest contributors in Friday’s win, to provide most of the offensive firepower.

Possession will again be key, as Northwestern looks to improve on its draw control struggles this season. The Wildcats took a major step forward in that category on Friday—albeit against a weak Rutgers team—by winning the draw control battle 18-8. Even a slight advantage in draw controls or possession can make a big impact, especially during a game that will most likely be low scoring.

This game should be more telling about Northwestern as a team than Friday’s game. Stony Brook is a tough opponent, especially on the road, and every game is important as both teams fight for postseason seeding as the season winds down. With the Seawolves also facing a quick turnaround after a Saturday game, Northwestern could see some fatigued Stony Brook players. Northwestern has played well in close games this season and the ‘Cats are certainly capable of pulling off a win in New York. That being said, it won’t be easy.

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