Non-Rev Recap: May 21-23
By Eli Finkelstein
Editor’s note: Each week, WNUR Sports recaps the news and results from the in-season, non-revenue teams that we cover in order to help our listeners and readers stay connected to the pulse of Northwestern athletics.
- 5/22: NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals, 22-10 win over No. 7 Duke
In the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, Northwestern made quick work of Duke to punch their ticket to the big dance for the twelfth time under coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. Despite giving up a five-goal deficit early in the first half, the Wildcats, led by Izzy Scane and Lauren Gilbert, stormed to a 12-8 lead at halftime. A diverse attack of six goals from Gilbert, five from Scane, three from Lindsey McKone and two from Erin Coykendall proved too powerful for the Blue Devils defense as the ‘Cats strolled to a 22-10 victory. Northwestern will face No. 3 Syracuse in the semifinals on May 28 at 1 p.m. CT in Towson, Maryland, for a shot at the championship game.
- 5/21: 3-2 loss to No. 14 Kentucky
- 5/22: 7-1 win over Miami Ohio
- 5/22: 7-2 loss to No. 14 Kentucky
Northwestern’s trip to Lexington for the NCAA Regional began with a hard-fought match against No. 14 Kentucky. After a second-inning solo shot for Maeve Nelson put the ‘Cats up 1-0, Kentucky relayed two runs on an RBI single. Following an obstruction call, Kentucky doubled down and executed a fielder’s choice to extend its lead 3-1 in the bottom of the second inning. While Northwestern pitcher Danielle Williams held Kentucky to just four hits and two earned runs, the ‘Cats couldn’t rally back, dropping the game 3-2.
The ‘Cats went into Saturday facing back-to-back elimination games. They first faced the RedHawks of Miami Ohio. Williams executed another stellar performance, only allowing one earned run in the form of an early homer for the RedHawks. Mac Dunlap crushed a three-RBI double with two outs left in the top of the second inning to give the ‘Cats a 3-1 lead. With the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, Nikki Cuchran hit her first home run (and grand slam) of the season to solidify a 7-1 victory for Northwestern.
Later that day, Northwestern took on Kentucky in another win-or-go-home situation. A second-inning sacrifice fly from Dunlap drove Emma Bartz home for the early Northwestern lead. Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, Kentucky picked up the pace and clinched their spot in the regional finals with a 7-1 victory.
Despite an early exit from the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats captured 30 wins and completed another successful season. The team will look to regroup in the offseason and attempt to make a deeper run next year.
- 5/21: 6-1 loss to Iowa
- 5/22: 5-4 win over Iowa
- 5/23: 8-6 win over Iowa
Northwestern struggled in the opener against Iowa. A stoic performance from Iowa ace Trenton Wallace held the ‘Cats’ bats to just one run all game. Northwestern first baseman Anthony Calarco crushed his ninth homer of the year in the bottom of the eighth inning, but it wasn’t enough to resurrect the ‘Cats as they dropped the game 6-1.
Northwestern rebounded in the second game of the series with a 5-4 victory. The ‘Cats came out firing in the first inning with a base-clearing David Dunn three-RBI double. Iowa struck back in the fourth and seventh innings, evening the ballgame at three runs apiece. But Northwestern refused to go gently into extra innings; an RBI single from Stephen Hrustich and another from Michael Trautwein in the bottom of the eighth put the ‘Cats up 5-3 going into the final inning. The Hawkeyes relayed one run on a fielder’s choice to bring the score within one. With two outs, relief pitcher Sam Lawrence struck out Iowa’s Peyton Williams on a 3-2 count to shatter the Hawkeye’s hopes at extra innings. Northwestern edged out the 5-4 victory to even the series.
The third game of the series came down to the very last at-bat. Trautwein, Shawn Goosenberg and Leo Kaplan sent bombs away in the early innings to give Northwestern a 4-0 lead by the end of the second. After the Hawkeyes scored three quick runs in the fourth, Trautwein crushed a two-run shot to right field to put the ‘Cats up 6-3 after the fifth. Iowa settled the score in the sixth to even the match at six runs apiece. But in the bottom of the ninth, it was Goosenberg o’clock. The power hitter struck one to deep left field that stayed fair by a hair to win the game for the Wildcats 8-6. After nearly a month of health and safety protocols, the ‘Cats pulled it together for an epic series win over Iowa.
Northwestern will travel to Columbus next weekend to take on Ohio State.