After coming up short in the season opener to Syracuse, No. 5 Northwestern lacrosse got its first win over the season over gritty No. 14 Notre Dame, prevailing 18-14.
While the Irish struck first, the ‘Cats scored three unanswered goals to get the offense flowing. As we saw in the Syracuse matchup, sophomores Serafina DeMunno, Samantha White and Samantha Smith made up the draw system. While the teams were fairly evenly matched in the draw battle, Northwestern was 20-for-20 on clearing the ball past the restraining line, giving a straight path for its prolific offense to thrive.
Kasey Choma and Jackie Wolak tallied nine goals together for the Fighting Irish, who played strongly on both ends of the field. However, it seemed that Izzy Scane was not pleased with her season debut, where she exploded for five goals and two assists.
Scane had ten goals — tying both her career high and the program’s single-game high, which she also set.
.@izzyscane27 ties her own single-game program record with her 10th goal of the game @NCAALAX | @NU_Sports pic.twitter.com/fcxIoiwzi7— Northwestern Lax (@NULax) February 17, 2023
Madison Taylor continued to make her presence heard in her first year, adding two goals, two assists and six draw controls.
Let me emphasize that Notre Dame is a strong program which has only gotten better each year — Choma and Madison Ahern played with Team USA over the summer and were outstanding. When the two teams clashed last seaosn, the ‘Cats narrowly won 17-16. Scane’s return has been outstanding, but I also think the offense has been clicking a lot earlier this season than last year.
I’d be willing to bet that Scane breaks her own goal record sooner rather than later this season, and maybe even the NCAA record for goals in a game, which is currently 12. She also tied her single-game point high with 12. The program’s single-game record sits at 13.
Moreover, the NU defense was significantly stronger than in the season opener. Graduate student Allie Berkery commanded the defense, and the Wildcats committed six caused turnovers to the Irish’s three. Graduate transfer Molly Laliberty looked eons more comfortable in net at the Division I level, tallying 13 saves — including this one to keep it at a four-goal game.
Molly Laliberty— Northwestern Lax (@NULax) February 17, 2023
She has 10 saves. pic.twitter.com/NKIyJAs9aO
While the Wildcats were 5-for12 from the eight-meter arc this game, one more than against Syracuse, they could still improve on those opportunities. Credit to Notre Dame’s goalie, who was also outstanding.
As is typical for the caliber of opponents Northwestern likes to face, the schedule won’t get any easier as Kelly Amonte Hiller’s squad takes on No. 3 Boston College on Sunday. At the same time, this game should prove a welcome boost of confidence at home.