It’s almost that time of year again.
Izzy Scane will chase records. Erin Coykendall will become an ESPN highlight reel. Northwestern lacrosse will continue to set the standard for a high level of player. This season, the target is on the ‘Cats as they look for back-to-back titles. Let the preseason coverage finally commence.
If Northwestern learned anything from last season, it’s that the newcomers should be appreciated. The ‘Cats don’t raise their first trophy since 2012 without Tufts graduate transfer Molly Laliberty in goal or Mercer graduate transfer Hailey Rhatigan on the attack. And where would NU be without Maddy Taylor, the Big Ten Freshmen of the Year who started every game of the 2023 season despite not receiving the national recognition that her teammates received in the preseason. This season, here are the players who will look to make as much of an impact as these three.
Mary Schumar, Marquette Grad Transfer, A
Hailey Rhatigan-esque, as an attacker from a smaller, respected D1 school that starts with an M.
The Inside Lacrosse and USA Lacrosse All-American Honorable Mention has the potential to make a huge impact on the field. Especially with Rhatigan gone, there is a void to be filled, and Schumar can definitely be an asset at she was. In her senior year at Marquette, Schumar racked up 20 goals and an NCAA best of 69 assists. While Erin Coykendall has often dominated the assist role for NU, Schumar’s set-up skills can certainly benefit scoring all around.
The more playmakers the better.
Lindsey Frank, Richmond grad transfer, M
First things first, a thank you for a tremendous field hockey season and the nearly 1,000 minutes she contributed.
The odd thing here is that Frank is not the only two-sport athlete on this list. But you’ll have to give her the appreciation she deserves before we get to Frank’s two-time Northwestern teammate.
At Richmond, Frank led her lacrosse team in goals for three seasons (she also led field hockey for two). Like Schumar, she has the potential to be another huge offensive threat.
The USA Lacrosse Magazine All-American finished her career for the Spiders with 164 goals and 234 assists. Last season, she had 67 goals, which would have put her second in scoring for the ‘Cats last season.
Alia Marshall, NU grad student, D
She’s not new to Northwestern, but she’s new to lacrosse. Well, she’s reconnecting with it.
With five seasons of Northwestern field hockey experience under her belt, Marshall brings lots of postseason and winning experience — perfect for lacrosse.
In her senior year of high school, the midfielder was both the field hockey and lacrosse player of the year in Delaware. The All-American high school lacrosse player helped lead her team to an 18-0 season and championship before she seemed to give up the sport forever.
Alexis Ventresca, first-year, M
Ventresca is the highest ranked Northwestern first-year, clocking in at No. 15 in the Inside Lacrosse projections. A member of the U20 team, she proved to be D1 ready as a senior, tallying 46 goals and 39 assists at the Episcopal Academy in Pennsylvania.
Madison Smith, first-year, M
Yes, Smith is a common last name. No, it’s not a coincidence. The No. 50 player is indeed related to junior Samantha Smith. Like her older sister, the U20 player has also shown talent on the draw. The sister tandem will certainly be one to look out for the next few seasons.
Alexandra Blake, first-year, M
Blake is another highly touted freshman, ranked No. 48 in the country and a U20 team member. The two-time All-American captained her team in Medfield, Massachusetts last year.
Noel Cumberland, First Year, M
Cumberland was ranked outside the top 50 but as gained national attention as a USA Lacrosse High School Player of the Week last April.
Taylor Lapointe, first-year, M
The two-time All-American is ranked No. 43 in the nation and previously was as high as 28th.
Lauren Archer, first-year, M
A two-time All-American recognized for her dual threat abilities by Inside Lacrosse. She can play all over the field, whether that be taking the draw control, leading the attack or getting the ball back.
Talia Reading, first-year, D
The only pure defender in her recruiting class was named to the all state team in Colorado as a senior and was an honorable mention as a junior.