No. 2 Northwestern (13-1, 4-0 B1G) traveled to the east coast this week to take on a conference foe in Rutgers (4-7, 0-5 B1G) and its final non-conference matchup against the University of Albany (7-6, 3-0 America East).
The first matchup in Piscataway carried a bit more weight, as the Scarlet Knights upset the Wildcats last season in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on their home turf at SHI Stadium. Rutgers has struggled this season after a record-breaking 2022 campaign, which included its first ever victory over Northwestern and best ever record at 16-5, which concluded with a loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Stony Brook.
While Rutgers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead over the ‘Cats, five goals from Hailey Rhatigan and four from Izzy Scane led Northwestern to take the game 16-6, including this impossible-angled shot.
How. Literally how.— Northwestern Lax (@NULax) April 6, 2023
Totally convinced Izzy Scane is a cheat code. pic.twitter.com/xVQeyzGeGm
While Northwestern won the draw battle 14-12, Rutgers’ Meghan Ball tallied seven to lead both teams. Samantha Smith collected five and Serafina DeMunno grabbed three. Cassidy Spillis led the Scarlet Knights in scoring with a hat trick to move into second in program history for goals scored, as well as her 200th draw control with two on the night.
Northwestern remains undefeated in conference play, while Rutgers fell to 0-5 in B1G play.
The ‘Cats then traveled to upstate New York to take on the UAlbany Great Danes, for the third matchup in program history, but the first time that Northwestern had played at Albany.
This game began as a closer one, with Albany playing tough and physical — they were able to tie the game four times before Northwestern pulled away for a 21-11 win.
Dylan Amonte, Rhatigan, Scane and Madison Taylor tallied four goals apiece to lead the Wildcats to their thirteenth straight win. Scane did not earn a goal nearly until halftime, but found the net back-to-back times to send the team into the half with an 11-6 lead.
For those who are wondering, she now has 68 goals in twelve games. She continues to lead the nation in both goals, goals per game, points and points per game.
Kendall Halpern had a phenomenal weekend on defense, forcing three caused turnovers in each game and had five ground balls against Albany. Halpern and Samantha White lead the team with 20 caused turnovers each, and Halpern and Carleigh Mahoney lead the team in ground balls with 24 each. The progression of the defensive unit has greatly improved over the season, resulting in the ‘Cats allowing less than 10 goals in nine of their last 10 games.
Up next, Northwestern will take on the Ohio State Buckeyes, who sit at 5-9 on the season and 0-5 in conference play, for their final regular season road game on Saturday, April 15. Then, the ‘Cats will have a week to prepare for their final regular season and conference test between the only other currently undefeated team in conference play in a historical rival of the Maryland Terrapins on the following Saturday, April 22.