Northbrook, Ill. -- Freshman Selena Lasota scored a season-high five goals and junior Kaleigh Craig matched her career high with four tallies, but fifth-ranked Northwestern was unable to slow down No. 8 Duke in suffering its first loss of the season Thursday afternoon, 15-9.
Craig opened the scoring with a pair of goals in the first 2:03 to play to give the 'Cats a 2-0 lead, but the Blue Devils (4-0) responded with four unanswered over the next 3:49 of play to build a 4-2 advantage. Again it was Craig who put the Wildcats on the board, tallying her third goal of the game at the 22:07 mark to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Duke extended its lead to three, 6-3, on goals by Maddie Crutchfield and Taylor Trimble before Lasota continued the hot start to her freshman campaign. Lasota tallied two goals in a span of 1:56 to pull NU back within a goal with 12:34 to play.
Lasota would score two more goals in the half, including an impressive behind the head shot with just 18 seconds left, but the Blue Devils still led at the break, 9-7.
The Wildcats had a pair of key chances in the opening minutes of the second half, but a shot by Craig hit the crossbar and another by Lasota hit the post. Neither team scored for the first eight-plus minutes of play until Lasota pulled the 'Cats within a goal at the 21:56 mark with her fifth goal of the day.
Unfortunately, the Blue Devils went on a 5-0 run over the next 10 minutes of play that extended their lead all the way to 14-8.
Craig matched her career high with her fouth goal of the day with 3:44 to play on a free-position shot, but Duke won the ensuing draw control and was able to kill the clock to close the game.
The Blue Devils held a 17-9 advantage in the draw circle on the day, but NU was able to improve in the second half finishing with a 5-4 advantage in the final 30 minutes of play. The two teams combined for 51 shots on the afternoon as Duke's Kelsey Duryea finished with nine saves, including seven in the second half, and Northwestern's Bridget Bianco recorded seven.
Freshman Shelby Fredericks dished out her first career assist and led the 'Cats with three ground balls and a pair of draw controls, while Lasota led the way with a pair of caused turnovers.
The Wildcats fall to 2-1 on the season and wil be back in action Saturday when they travel to Milwaukee, Wis., to take on Marquette at Valley Fields. The opening draw is scheduled for noon.