Lacrosse: Izzy Scane’s freshman season has been something to remember


Alison Albelda/Daily Senior Staffer

Izzy Scane celebrates after a goal. The freshman has had a breakout season at attack for the Wildcats.

Charlie Goldsmith, Reporter


The most surprising thing about Izzy Scane’s dominant freshman season is that less than 12 months ago, coach Kelly Amonte Hiller told Scane that she wasn’t good enough.

Amonte Hiller has coached Northwestern for 18 seasons, but she recently added the responsibility of leading the U-19 U.S. women’s national team. Scane was among the 110 players participating in the team tryout last summer, but she was one of the last cuts from the 36-player squad.

That meant that before Scane had even stepped on campus as a student, she knew she had to make a major leap if she wanted to reach elite status.

“They just hadn’t seen enough,” Scane said. “I had to show that I could hang with older, good players. A lot of that comes from having confidence going in, even as a freshman.”

Amonte Hiller said Scane was “very close” to making the training roster for the national team in that first tryout, but she didn’t make it because it took her multiple days to start performing at a high level. As a result of Scane’s slow start to the tryout, Amonte Hiller said there was separation between Scane and some other midfielders.

But by the end of the Cats’ fall exhibition season, Amonte Hiller was starting to second-guess herself for cutting Scane from the team. In NU’s preseason games against top teams like Boston College and Syracuse, Scane showed a scoring ability that wasn’t there in the summer. Amonte Hiller sent the national team assistant coaches film that showed Scane’s improvement, and with it, the message that the head coach was changing her mind.

“As soon as she started to perform the way she was performing in the fall,” Amonte Hiller said, “I told my staff, ‘I think you’re probably going to want this kid back on the team.’”

As a result of her strong play in the fall, Scane was invited to another national team camp this past winter. In January, she earned a spot on the 23-person training team; the 18-player roster will be finalized this summer before the U-19 World Championship in August. Amonte Hiller used Scane more as an attacker than as a midfielder the second time around, and the Michigan native thrived in a group of the best young lacrosse players in the country.

Scane’s play in her first Big Ten season has validated that decision — the attacker earned a spot on the All-Big Ten first team, and was unanimously named the conference’s Freshman of the Year. Scane started the first game for the Cats as a defender, but after Amonte Hiller moved her to attack seven games into the season, Scane emerged as one of the best scorers in the Big Ten.

She currently has 56 goals, the second-highest total on the team, and sophomore midfielder Brennan Dwyer said Scane’s athletic ability is what sets her apart from some other attackers.

“She’s a super good dodger,” Dwyer said “She just goes through people and goes right to the goal without letting anyone stop her.”

Amonte Hiller said Scane’s growth throughout the three-month season is greater than what she saw between the first and second national team tryouts. The coach compared Scane’s continued improvement to the development of senior attacker Selena Lasota, who was named this season’s Big Ten Attacker of the Year and is one of the best players in program history.

Lasota also won Big Ten Freshman of the Year and led the conference with 79 goals as a freshman, but she played on an NU team that struggled in Big Ten play and was bounced by Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Scane has the No. 4 Cats dreaming about a national championship.

They have already beaten the No. 1 team in the country, Maryland, in the Big Ten Tournament and have the home advantage over No. 5 Syracuse in Saturday’s Elite Eight game at Martin Stadium.

NU likely wouldn’t be in this position without the development of the attacker who less than a year ago was told she wasn’t good enough to play for Team USA. Now that Scane has made a commanding run through the Big Ten, Amonte Hiller said she couldn’t imagine not having her on the field.

“For us on the U.S. team, I don’t know where she’ll play,” Amonte Hiller said. “But we’re going to want to have her on the field.”

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