In a game that was as even statistically as it was on the scoreboard, No. 5 Northwestern fell 12-11 in double overtime to the resilient Johns Hopkins Blue Jays Sunday at Lakeside Field in Evanston. The loss marks the first for the Wildcats at their home stadium in nearly two years as well as the first ever road win for the Blue Jays (11-2, 2-2) in the series.
Northwestern (9-4, 3-2) had not played in a game decided in double overtime since a 13-12 victory over Penn in the 2009 NCAA semifinals.
The Wildcats were paced at the offensive end for a fourth straight game by senior Kat DeRonda, who matched career highs for both goals (4) and assists (3) to finish with seven points, two better than her previous single game high for points. It’s also the highest single-game points total for a Wildcat since Erin Fitzgerald also recorded seven against Harvard on March 16, 2013. DeRonda has racked up 19 points in her last four outings after registering 15 through Northwestern’s first nine games of the season.
Junior goalkeeper Bridget Bianco posted 11 saves between the pipes, her highest total since notching 14 in the 2014 season-opener.
Northwestern was ahead or tied for the first 42 minutes of the game before the visitors took their first lead, 9-8, with 17:37 remaining. The ‘Cats scored the next two goals to regain the upper hand with 7:23 on the clock and were nearly able to ride the 10-9 edge to victory, but Hopkins standout Taylor D’Amore slipped free and scored with just 49 seconds remaining to send the game to extra time.
The skies in Evanston opened up as overtime began, but it didn’t dampen the level of competition at Lakeside Field. JHU scored first in the extra session before Northwestern pulled level at 11 on a quickstick Kelly Rich tally off DeRonda’s third assist of the day.
That goal advanced the game to sudden victory, where the Blue Jays held the lion’s share of possession and eventually earned the game-winner on an aggressive right-handed dodge by Dene’ DiMartino, who ended the match with just 20 seconds left in the OT period with her fifth goal of the day.
JHU, who came into the game fresh off of back-to-back one-goal ALC losses, managed to reverse course in close games and hand the Wildcats their third one-goal defeat this season.
Both sides fired off 28 shots in the game, while Northwestern battled its way to a 15-13 advantage in draw controls — led by Alyssa Leonard’s nine — and 16-12 edge in ground balls. Johns Hopkins committed 12 turnovers in the game, just one more than NU.
Northwestern got off to a promising 3-0 lead, with DeRonda contributing to the first two goals for the ‘Cats before junior Jess Carroll scored on an aggressive move at the 23:32 mark of the opening half. DiMartino and Jen Cook scored in short order for the Blue Jays before Kaleigh Craig netted her first of the day and 26th of the year to give Northwestern a 4-2 advantage.
After the Jays came back to tie things at four, scores by DeRonda and Macdonald provided Northwestern a two-goal lead that the Wildcats hoped to carry into halftime. But Hopkins had other ideas, scoring twice in the final minute of the half — and nearly netting a third on an 8-meter attempt awarded with 1 second showing on the scoreboard that was thwarted by Bianco — to send the game to the break knotted at six.