The #7 Northwestern Wildcats (13-3, 5-0) put on a show in their last home game of the season, stretching their win streak to 8 with a dominating performance. Shelby Fredericks had a career-high nine assists, just one off the single-game program record and two shy of the NCAA record, while fellow Wildcats Sheila Nesselbush, Selena Lasota, and Danita Stroup each added four goals of their own, with Lasota tacking on three assists.
All that said, the main highlight of the day came when the game was all but decided. With just 4 minutes left, Tara Chelios recorded the first goal of her career and received a standing ovation from the larger-than-average crowd. Chelios, a senior who typically plays only sparingly but is an important and beloved member of the team, finally got her big moment in what will probably be her last home game.
Northwestern was fully in control of this game from start to finish. Rutgers never led, and the Wildcats never looked back after taking an early 6-1 lead, as Lindsey McKone’s tally with just 11 seconds remaining capped off an explosive 13 goal first half. The second was a bit more defensive, with Northwestern holding Rutgers to just two goals, both in the last 10 minutes. Eight Wildcats found the back of the net on the day: Emily Stein, Nicole Beardsley, Holly Korn (2), and the five aforementioned goal scorers.
The easy Senior Day victory sets up the biggest game of the season, and arguably of the last three seasons, for Northwestern: a Thursday tilt with fellow conference unbeaten Maryland in College Park. Both teams are locks for high seeds in the NCAA Tournament, but only the winner can capture the regular season Big Ten Championship. A win over the third-ranked Terrapins would be Northwestern’s first since 2012, and would lead to the first ever Big Ten Championship for Wildcat women’s lacrosse.