Many words in the dictionary are used to describe winners. “Successful,” “outstanding,” “sensational” and “A1” are the firsts to come to mind. No matter the word you choose, these Wildcats are that. The No. 2 Northwestern Wildcats women’s lacrosse team (13-1, 4-0 B1G) has been on a 13-game win streak since their opening-day loss to No. 1 Syracuse (14-0, 7-0 ACC), and they do not plan on slowing down anytime soon.
Izzy Scane. That’s it, that’s the sentence. This graduate attacker needs no introduction, but in case you are new here – Hi! May I interest you in arguably the greatest lacrosse player in the game right now?
Scane currently leads the nation in points (which are goals and assists combined), goals and goals per game. No one’s even near her solar system in the latter two. She’s been on a different level all season, scoring 10 goals in a game against then-No. 14 Notre Dame (9-4, 4-3 ACC), and eight on two more occasions.
Fourth-year attacker Erin Coykendall is the fourth-leading scorer on the team with 35 goals, and is fourth in the nation in points. This is thanks to her 38 assists, good for sixth in the country. Meanwhile, graduate transfer attacker Hailey Rhatigan has 36 goals of her own, making her the tied second-leading scorer on the team, and she’s done this in only 10 games.
First-year midfielder and eight-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week Madison Taylor has also notched 36 goals. With all of these top scorers, it’s no wonder Northwestern leads the country in total goals and goals per game. Taylor can succeed on defense as well; she’s thee third-leading Wildcat in ground balls with 20.
Defensively, the Wildcats are led by third-year midfielders Carleigh Mahoney and Kendall Halpern, as well as second-year defender Samantha White. Mahoney and Halpern have 24 ground balls each while White has 18. Graduate transfer goalkeeper Molly Laliberty has collected 103 saves; she’s been an electrifying addition to the Wildcats’ backend.
Sitting at 6-1 in ranked play, the Wildcats have put the hurt on teams including then-No. 3 Boston College (11-3, 6-1 ACC), then-No. 4 Stony Brook (9-2, 4-0 CAA) and then-No. 14 Notre Dame. The icing on the cake was an Evanston win over then-No. 1 North Carolina (11-2, 6-1 ACC), giving the ’Cats the sweet taste of revenge after last year’s Final Four loss.
Wrapping up the revenge tour in the final regular season game is a matchup against No. 5 Maryland (12-3, 4-0 B1G), who are on a nine-game win streak of their own. Northwestern will have the chance to go into B1G tournament play on a major hot streak pending its final three games.
You can pick any word you want to describe this team, but I’ll use just one: champions.
Thumbnail photo by Joanne Haner / North by Northwestern