On Sunday night, Northwestern (17-1, 6-0 B1G) was selected as the top seed in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament for the first time in 14 years. It marks the program’s 24th NCAA Tournament appearance, and its 19th consecutive bid under head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller.
NU, which won the Big Ten Championship over Maryland on Saturday night, will head to the postseason fresh off a 17-game winning streak. Along the way, it defeated No. 1 North Carolina, No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 3 Boston College, No. 18 Penn State and No. 4 Stony Brook along with wins over ranked Michigan and Maryland teams twice en route to one of the most successful regular seasons in program history.
Northwestern’s star-studded lineup led the way. Samantha Smith — along with Tewaaraton Award nominees Hailey Rhatigan, Izzy Scane, Erin Coykendall and Samantha White — all earned All-Big Ten First Team selections. Molly Laliberty, Kendall Halpern and Madison Taylor earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors.
Two other Big Ten teams — the Wolverines and the Nittany Lions — are in Northwestern’s seven-team quadrant of the bracket. The ‘Cats earned a first-round bye with the No. 1 seed. They will take on the Michigan-Central Michigan winner in Evanston next Sunday.