Down a goal with 22 seconds to play, it wasn’t looking good for the ‘Cats, but Catie Ingrilli found a streaking Selena Lasota who tied it up against No. 4 UNC with 5 seconds to play, sending the game into overtime.
But it wasn’t to be for the ‘Cats, as Aly Messinger scored 15 seconds into the overtime period, giving the Tar Heels a 9-8 OT victory, their first win in Evanston since 2010.
When Northwestern wins in the draw control, the ‘Cats are usually in good shape to win the game. But going into halftime against North Carolina, the ‘Cats were down 6-3, yet had dominated in the draw circle. And while the ‘Cats finished with a 13-6 lead in the draw circle, they just couldn’t convert on the offensive end.
Behind four unanswered goals in the second half, the ‘Cats held were able to tie and take the lead against UNC, holding the Tar Heels scoreless for almost 25 minutes in the second half. But UNC came back, scoring to tie and take the lead within the span of a minute and eventually claiming victory in overtime.
The ‘Cats had trouble with North Carolina’s defense all day, turning the ball over 11 times, leading to a number of Tar Heel goals, including Aly Messinger’s go-ahead goal with just over five minutes to play.
Northwestern dominated the draw control early on in the first half, with Shelby Fredericks winning five of the first six draw controls en route to Northwestern building a 3-2 lead.
However, the ‘Cats turned it over seven times in the first half, allowing North Carolina to come back from being down 3-2 and build up a 6-3 halftime lead.
The Tar Heels outshot the ‘Cats, 16-10 in the first half, taking advantage of Northwestern turnovers and inability to put the ball in the back of the net.
Similarly, on defense, UNC did a great job doubling Selena Lasota, limiting her to just two shots in the first half, neither of which were on goal and forcing her into four turnovers. The ‘Cats had lots of trouble off the double team, and just couldn’t find the back of the net against a good Tar Heel defense in the first half.
In the second half, ‘Cats came roaring back, scoring four unanswered as Fredericks and Kaleigh Craig both completed hat tricks to tie it up a 6.
Early on in the second half, the ‘Cats cut down on their turnovers, continued to dominate in the draw circle and outshot the Tar Heels in the second half, 11-8. Freshman goalie Mallory Weisse came up with a number of clutch saves as well, finishing the game with 9.
Catie Ingrilli gave the ‘Cats a 7-6 lead with just under 15 minutes to play, Molly Hendrick tied it up with just over five minutes to play, breaking a North Carolina scoring drought of over 20 minutes. And Messinger scored off another Northwestern turnover to give the Tar Heels the lead for what looked like for good.
But the Tar Heels turned it over with 22 seconds to play, giving the ‘Cats one last chance to convert. And Selena Lasota did just that, finding the back of the net with 5 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Tar Heels won the opening draw and it was quickly over after that as Messinger found the net for the second time on the afternoon, giving North Carolina the victory.
With the loss Northwestern falls to 3-4 on the season and next take on Colorado on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Martin Stadium.