After starting the season with an 0-1 record, the women’s lacrosse team faced a pair of games against the Northwestern Wildcats this weekend. Northwestern is ranked fourth nationally, while the Blue Jays have found themselves unranked.
Freshman midfielder Abbey Hurlbrink talked about facing challenging opponents.
“We know we can match up athletically with any team, so we prepared mentally by focusing in on winning the one-on-one battles in front of us,” she said. “Being in the Big Ten conference, every game we play is going to be incredibly competitive. We came in with the mindset that we were going to play our game and focus on what we could control. No matter who our competition is, our coaches have us prepared with a great game plan and scouting report.”
The first game of the series was played on Friday. The Blue Jays started off strong. Only a minute into the game, graduate student attackman Mackenzie Heldberg scored the first goal of the game. Senior attackman Aurora Cordingley and Hurlbrink followed with two more goals. This brought the score to 3-0 in the Jays’ favor only four minutes into the game.
Northwestern scored their first goal not too long afterward. The Blue Jays continued to apply pressure, as Cordingley capitalized on a Wildcat yellow card to get her second goal of the day.
The two teams traded goals for several minutes, and with 15 left in the first half, the score was 6-3 Hopkins. However, two minutes later, Northwestern scored their fourth goal. Two minutes after that, they scored their fifth. By the end of the half, Northwestern had gone on an 8-0 run, ending the half at a score of 11-6.
Hopkins needed to step up on both ends of the field in the second half, or they would be unable to close the five-point deficit. But when the second half started, Northwestern stole the show. The Wildcats scored four more unanswered goals, and the Blue Jays found themselves down 15-6 with 18 minutes to play.
Hurlbrink finally ended the run, scoring her second and third goals of the game. But the Hopkins offense was out of gas, and the game ended 17-8. Hurlbrink and Cordingley led the team with three goals each. Despite the loss, senior goalie Kathleen Garvey had an impressive 14 saves.
Hurlbrink discussed the first hat-trick of her career.
“Finding some individual success early on in my career has been great and I have learned a lot from being out on the field,” she said. “However, it doesn’t mean too much if we don’t come out with a win.”
On Sunday, the two teams took the field again, playing through heavy rain. The game started out close. Five minutes into the game, the score was already 3-2 in Northwestern’s favor. Both Hopkins goals were scored by graduate student attackman Maggie Schneidereith.
The rest of the half featured scoring from both sides, with Hopkins still coming up short. At halftime, the score was 8-5, and Schneidereith had already scored four goals. The fifth goal, scored with less than 30 seconds remaining, was scored by Heldberg.
Like the first game, the Blue Jays needed to start off with some energy. But again, this did not happen. The Wildcats scored the first two goals of the half before sophomore attackman Maeve Barker was able to slow the onslaught with a goal of her own. At 10-6 with 25 minutes remaining, victory was still within reach.
Northwestern was looking to put this game away, and they followed Barker’s goal by doing exactly that. This run featured five unanswered goals. The Blue Jays finally scored again with 12 minutes left, thanks to a goal from Cordingley.
The comeback was never actualized and the game ended, after several back-and-forth goals, at a score of 18-9. Schneidereith led the team with her four-goal performance while also getting two assists. These two consecutive nine-point losses bring the Blue Jays to 0-3 on the season — a disappointing start.
Hurlbrink reflected on the team’s winless record.
“Our season has just begun,” she said. “We know we can win a lot of games from here on out, so our spirits are high. We know we have the talent, so we are going to move forward with our eyes on the next opponent. We are excited to get back out there and compete for our first win. If we stay within a team-first attitude and fight every minute of the game, the wins will come.”
The team will look to rebound this weekend with a pair of games against the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are 1-3 so far this season. Two victories this weekend would be key to keeping the Blue Jays’ season alive.