Lacrosse: Northwestern not looking past unranked Louisville


Daily file photo by Alec Carroll

Jill Girardi holds the ball. Northwestern opens its season against Louisville on Friday.

Karim Noorani, Reporter


Despite dealing with all the pressures that come with being one of the country’s most prestigious programs, No. 7 Northwestern sounds like it’s playing with house money.

“Our team’s pretty lighthearted,” senior attacker Selena Lasota said. “It’s very fun. We’re always laughing and dancing at practice.”

For the team, it’s important to not to confuse high spirits with a lack of focus heading into the first match of the season, Friday at home against Louisville. According to coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, the Wildcats have centered on getting better each day, tackling the season one game at a time and bringing intensity to each practice.

Following a 2018 season that ended with a disappointing loss to North Carolina, Lasota said NU has found a new mentality to match its new facility, Ryan Fieldhouse. The team is focused less on results and much more on playing in the moment, Lasota said.

“This season our games are going to be much different,” Lasota said. “We’re trying to diminish the self-loathing.”

Although they’ve shifted their mindset, the Cats’ current sights are set on the Cardinals. NU opens the regular season against an unranked Louisville team that lost ten of its final 11 games in last year’s campaign.

Though playing a developing program, Amonte Hiller was focused on all three aspects of the game.

“Moving the ball on the offensive end is huge,” Amonte Hiller said. “We obviously have to win possession on draw controls. Defensively, lots of communication and playing together, I think that’s the biggest thing.”

The last time the Cats played Louisville in 2017, the Cardinals were under the guidance of coach Kellie Young. In the matchup two years later, Louisville has new leadership, and NU is hosting games inside an improved facility.

Lasota emphasized the importance of unity within the team, whose roster has 20 underclassmen. The team’s depth will be crucial this year as Amonte Hiller seems content on riding the hot hand at goalkeeper and draws.

Amonte Hiller also said this season’s schedule leaves them no room for error, even though their first three games are at home.

“It’s tough,” she said. “There’s no easy games. We go up against some great, great teams. We’re excited about it. To be the best, you have play the best. We will definitely be battle-tested right off the bat, starting with Louisville.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @23Karimn