We’re a little late on the preview front, as NU opened its season with a resounding 21-11 win over Louisville on Friday, but hey, better late than never. Northwestern is ranked seventh in the Inside Lacrosse poll and eighth in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse RPI. The Wildcats have made 15 straight NCAA tournaments and look poised to reach another this year. Here’s a look at what to expected from the Wildcats:
Northwestern graduated important attackers Sheila Nesselbush and Shelby Fredericks, who provided a combined 136 points last year, finishing second and third in points scored for the Wildcats 2018 team. Northwestern also lost four defensive players, most notably stalwart Lindsay Darrell. Coach Kelly Amonte Hiller highlighted sisters Nell and Carson Copeland as important replacements defensively, along with freshman Izzy Scane (who scored the first goal of the season).
“We feel like we have strong athleticism defensively this year,” Hiller said. “We’re looking at utilize that to the best of our ability.”
Looking Forward to the 2019 Season
Northwestern returns leading scorer and Tewaaraton award contender Selena Lasota in what should be a prolific offensive attack. The Wildcats also bring back redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Julie Krupnick. Seven freshmen make up this season’s highly-ranked class, many of whom will look to make an immediate impact. Amonte Hiller mentioned midfielders Scane, Elle Hansen, and Allie Berkery along with goalie Madison Doucette as some of the first years she expects to contribute early and often.
Names to Know
Selena Lasota: The leading scorer for the Wildcats and one of the best players in country, Lasota will again be the engine that drives NU’s attack.
Nell, Carson, and Kate Copeland: Nell and Carson Copeland will be a main defensive pair for the Wildcats, and the success of Northwestern’s back line will be imperative to their season success. Kate Copeland should also see more playing time.
Julie Krupnick: The redshirt sophomore goalkeeper from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey started every game for the Wildcats last season, but should have a challenge on her hands with Doucette competing for time in net.
Brennan Dwyer: The sophomore took 36 draw controls for the Wildcats last season, putting her sixth all time for Northwestern freshmen. The Winnetka native is expected to step into the important role of primary draw control taker after the loss of Shelby Fredericks.
Expectations for the season
The Wildcats have made 15 straight NCAA tournaments, and are expected to not only make another, but contend for the national championship. However, with second-ranked Maryland and tenth-ranked Penn State as conference rivals, the ‘Cats will have an uphill climb in their own conference. Northwestern still enters the season as a consensus top ten team, and their returning attacking talent along with the depth provided by a great freshman class should prove the Wildcats a serious contender both in the Big Ten and nationally.
One for the road
“I think we want to get better every day. That’s really our focal point every single day and I think ultimately we want to win championships, Big Ten and national. So we have lofty goals for ourselves but we don’t really talk about those on a daily basis, we talk about getting better every single day and making that our focal point and really honing in on the details.” — Kelly Amonte Hiller