Northwestern’s most-decorated athletic program once again took home champion status for the University this past weekend.
The No. 2 ranked Wildcats took to the Penn State Panzer Stadium for the semifinal match in the Big Ten Tournament this weekend after their perfect regular season title earned them a first-round bye. With wins over first Rutgers and then Maryland in the finale, NU capped off their perfect campaign in winning the Big Ten Championship.
Their pristine record comes as no surprise given the amount of hardware the team’s roster took home over the weekend, as seven ‘Cats were selected to the All Big-Ten Team. Senior Lauren Gilbert and Junior Izzy Scane led the way as first-team unanimous selections, with Graduate student Lindsey McKone and Senior Ally Palermo also earning first-team recognition. Additionally, Grad student Sammy Mueller, Senior Allie Berkery and Senior Brennan Dwyer rounded things with second-team honors. Most impressively, Scane, Gilbert, McKone and Mueller remain contenders for the Tewaaraton National Player of the Year Award.
In their first game of the weekend on Friday, the ‘Cats were presented with a rematch with Rutgers in the semifinal of the tournament, dominating the Scarlet Knights 24-14 after beating them twice in the regular season.
Even though Rutgers was able to limit Scane to a mere two goals, due to the immense offensive strength of the ‘Cats, they were still able to outshoot Rutgers 34-24 . Mueller had six goals to tie her career-high, Gilbert added five and McKone added four. On the defensive end, the Scarlet Knights were no match for the ‘Cats — Senior Goalkeeper Madison Doucette had eight saves, while Sophomore Erin Coykendall and Scane had three caused turnovers each.
On Sunday, Northwestern faced not only an adversary in their pursuit of the conference title, but also one for the NCAA Title in the Maryland Terrapins. While Northwestern won both contests in the regular season with ease, the Terrapins came out hot leading 5-1 on Sunday, putting NU in a steep hole early on. Regardless, Northwestern showed their reserve and toughness in clawing back to tie the game 7-7 at halftime.
After the down match vs Rutgers, Scane was back to her super scoring ways, tallying nine total goals in the championship game to allow Northwestern to tie the tournament record. Scane now has 81 goals on the season, on pace to break the school’s single season scoring record and per-game record.
Scane was also assisted by her teammates in Gilbert, McKone and Mueller combining for four goals and Senior Brennan Dwyer adding two of her own. Maryland was gritty on offense, taking many of the draw controls, but Northwestern’s offense was too much for their opponents. Senior Jillian Girardi, as well as McKone, were strong in the draw circle, Girardi winning 11 draw controls and McKone two with two turnovers.
Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse now holds back-to-back tournament tiles, defending their tournament title from back in 2019. Still undefeated at 13-0, the Maryland Terrapins put up a tough fight, but the ‘Cats remained perfect on the season, beating them narrowly 17-12.
Now, the ‘Cats set their sights on the postseason and an NCAA national title. Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse holds an extremely special team this year, as they hope to bring in the program’s eight national title and their first since 2012.