Lacrosse: No. 6 Northwestern refocuses as it prepares to face No. 7 Syracuse


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Izzy Scane stares at the field. The sophomore attacker has scored 22 points in the team’s first four games.

Gabriela Carroll, Assistant Sports Editor


Northwestern will face off against its second tough, top-10 opponent of the season Saturday, when No. 7 Syracuse comes to Evanston.

Both teams come into Evanston with 3-1 records and losses to other top-15 opponents. The Wildcats’ offense, which has scored over 20 goals in every game except for Notre Dame this season, and the Orange’s defense, which has allowed more than 6 goals in only one game this season, headline what promises to be an exciting match.

The game against the Fighting Irish was not NU’s strongest performance, according to coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. Despite the 17-15 score, Amonte Hiller was critical of her team’s composure in tough stretches.

“Every time we crawled back into it, I feel like we kind of lost composure a little bit and tried to play too fast,” Amonte Hiller said. “We weren’t able to get that next level because, you know, we get the draw control and then maybe turn it over, so just finding the balance between playing fast and wearing them down a little bit.”

Many of the Cats’ offensive players missed passes and took poor transition shots due to Notre Dame’s aggressive defense. Syracuse plays in a similar style, said Amonte Hiller, and she hopes the game against the Fighting Irish helped them learn how to move the ball against tougher defenses for Saturday.

NU’s offense returned to top form against Arizona State Sunday, and junior midfielder Brennan Dwyer set a program record for most draw controls in a single game with 21, after her and senior attacker Lindsey McKone struggled with them against Notre Dame.

“It was a good turnaround from Friday because the draws weren’t really as strong,” Dwyer said. “So in our game on Saturday, it was definitely a good start to kind of get back to where we want to be.”

Dwyer said she sees the game against the Fighting Irish as a wakeup call. Coming into this weekend, the Cats have an opportunity to make a statement and rebound from that disappointing loss.

The Cats came into the Notre Dame game with a lot of hype surrounding them. Coming off a 54-goal weekend, and a Final Four appearance the season prior, expectations for NU were only getting higher. Ryan Fieldhouse was packed at the game against the Fighting Irish, and NU has had healthy crowds at each of their games this season.

Dwyer said she thought the Cats lacked focus in that game, a feeling junior defender Kate Copeland agreed with. Copeland said she felt the Cats allowed the anticipation for the game to distract them in their preparation. Against Syracuse, another top-10 opponent, there is sure to be more of that same enthusiasm.

“We love our fans, like we’ve been wanting to get more people to come to our games,” Copeland said. “But I think that when that happens, we just need to remember that this is a game, like, we don’t need any extra factors, how we play or what our intensity is.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @gablcarroll