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2024 Northwestern lacrosse previews: Returning contributors and reserves

There are some newcomers on this year’s squad, but the ‘Cats also brought back a large portion of their bench.

2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Semifinals Photo by Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Lax is almost back. The defending national champions are set to take on Stanford in an exhibition on Sunday. With that, and Northwestern’s regular season just two weeks away from starting, let’s look at some of the Lake Show’s returners who didn’t lead the way in 2023 before diving into the team’s different position groups in a couple of days.

Note: This only includes players who participated in fewer than 20 games in 2023 — some projected starters may be mentioned here.

A Leah Holmes (SR)

Part of a crowded front line, Holmes played in just 11 games in 2023, and only picked up a ground ball. However, she put together a fantastic first two seasons in 2021 and 2022. Holmes played in 37 total games and found the back of the net just as many times. She earned nine starts, and was the sixth-leading scorer on the 2021 squad that didn’t lose until the Final Four.

With Hailey Rhatigan now gone, maybe Kelly Amonte Hiller calls on the former Inside Lacrosse No. 3 recruit to fill that key role up front. If Holmes gets that opportunity, and scores at the clip that she did in her first two seasons, then beating the Wildcats will become an even taller task than the gigantic one it already is.

A Abby LoCasio (SO)

LoCasio didn’t play at all in 2023, so she’s essentially a redshirt first-year. Coming from Saint Anthony’s High School on Long Island, the former CHSAA All-Leaguer was Inside Lacrosse’s 10th-ranked recruit in 2022. It’ll be really interesting to see if Amonte Hiller throws LoCasio right into starting action (or equivalent to it), or if the attacker works her way up the depth chart a little slower.

A Lucy Munro (SO)

Munro played in 17 of NU’s 22 games last year. She scored her first of her two career goals against Vanderbilt on this impressive shot:

In addition to that, the sophomore from Highlands Ranch, Colorado also racked up an assist and notched four shots on goal. Munro saw more action than most of the other current sophomores (sans perennial Big Ten Freshman of the Week Madison Taylor). With a year of experience under her belt and some spots open in the attacking depth chart, she should earn even more.

A Rachel Weiner (SO)

Weiner enjoyed a really nice March. Against Vanderbilt and Youngstown State on March 4 and 5, she picked up assists in each game. Versus the latter, the sophomore fired three shots on goal. Just over two weeks later, Weiner scored for the first time against Johns Hopkins in a 19-5 win. She played in 11 games in 2023.

GK Francesca Argentieri (SO)

Argentieri played in 11 contests last year. In her 54:30 at goalie, she gave up 15 goals on 31 shots, saving nine of them. The sophomore saw the most action against Youngstown State, when she played 15 minutes and saved three of the five shots she faced, surrendering one goal. With All-Big Ten Second Teamer Molly Laliberty returning for her sixth year, it’s unlikely that Argentieri will tend the net in crunch time. But, that may not stop her from stepping up as Laliberty’s potential successor.

M Karly Keating (JR)

Keating played in five games last season, and took part in seven in 2022. Against the Blue Jays last year, she forced a turnover and picked up a ground ball.

D Natalie Lopez (SR)

After playing in 11 games in each of her first two seasons, Lopez set a career high in that area with 14 appearances in 2023. She picked up four ground balls throughout the year and forced a turnover against Youngstown State. Lopez also started three games as a first-year in 2021.

D Megan Mallgrave (JR)

In 2023, Mallgrave played in 10 games. After appearing in the same total of contests as a first-year, Mallgrave improved on her 2022 season by forcing a turnover and picking up two ground balls. Perhaps with Allie Berkery’s departure, Mallgrave sees even more action in her junior season.

GK Cara Nugent (JR)

In Nugent’s four games last year, she saved seven of the 11 shots she faced in just under 30 minutes of action. The Boxford, Massachusetts native was especially great in her extended action against Youngstown State. In her 15 minutes, she stopped five of six shots. Whether Nugent or Argentieri sees more time at backup goalie remains to be seen, but it’ll be interesting to watch if one receives more playing time than the other. Northwestern doesn’t have many problems to begin with, and returning its entire keeper room is a nice plus.

D Kathryn Welch (SO)

In Welch’s eight games, she forced a turnover against Marquette on Feb. 23 of last year. Although Northwestern brings back most of its elite back line — namely Carleigh Mahoney, Samantha White and Kendall Halpern — Welch could earn some more minutes in 2024 with seniors like Berkery graduating.