With a commanding 17-11 win over Ohio State, No. 2 Northwestern clinched at least a share of the 2023 Big Ten regular season championship.
Because Maryland fell earlier this week to a formidable 18th-ranked Penn State team, Northwestern now stands alone at the top of the rankings. While these two teams will duke it out next week, because the ‘Cats have an unblemished conference record, they have already at least a share of the regular season crown. A win over Maryland, who is currently ranked tenth but will likely fall after losing to the Nittany Lions, would allow NU to take the title outright.
While she may have worn No. 56 instead of No. 27, Izzy Scane was not rattled by the last-minute switch, as she scored four goals and chipped in two assists.
The star of the game, however, was Hailey Rhatigan. She tallied a season-high six goals and one assist, including four back-to-back goals on her own.
FOUR GOALS STRAIGHT FOR HAILEY RHATIGAN.— Northwestern Lax (@NULax) April 15, 2023
WE'LL SAY IT AGAIN.
FOUR GOALS STRAIGHT pic.twitter.com/Dlf6C5YCn8
The graduate transfer now has 42 goals and 50 points in 11 games in the purple and white, while Scane has surpassed the 70-goal mark with 72.
Erin Coykendall added four goals and an assist- the assist moved her into second place in program history in assists with 129.
Watching history.— Northwestern Lax (@NULax) April 15, 2023
With one assist today, Erin Coykendall is now second in program history with 129 career assists. pic.twitter.com/JcM1DHWnlB
On the defensive end, Jane Hansen tallied a career-high four caused turnovers. The ‘Cats turned over the ball more than they would have liked, but still less than their opponent with 14 to the Buckeyes 16.
Northwestern continued to use their strengths in the draw circle, allowing them to come out of the gate and score in bunches. Samantha Smith tallied 8 draws and Madison Taylor added four.
While Ohio State was able to score three unanswered goals late in the game, in part by a strong performance by their goalkeeper Regan Alexander, Northwestern ultimately pulled away when Scane tallied her fourth goal of the game for a final score of 17-11.
Up next, the ‘Cats will host a historical conference rival in the Maryland Terrapins for a Saturday night marquee matchup at home to close out the regular season.
From there, the Big Ten Tournament seeding will be locked in. While it’s likely Northwestern will grab the first overall seed and a first-round bye, granted if they handle business against the Terrapins, anything can happen this late in the season.