Lacrosse: No. 3 Northwestern cruises past San Diego State, extends win streak to eight games


Alyce Brown/The Daily Northwestern

Graduate student midfielder Jill Girardi grabs the draw control against her opponent. Girardi recorded 8 draw controls in Sunday’s matchup against San Diego State.

Skye Swann, Development and Recruitment Editor


Northwestern (12-2, 4-0 Big Ten) secured its eighth consecutive win Sunday after defeating San Diego State (5-7, 0-0 MPSF) 20-8 at Martin Stadium. Graduate student attacker Lauren Gilbert and graduate student midfielder Jill Girardi led the team, combining for eight of the Wildcats’ twenty goals.

“To have players (like Gilbert and Girardi) with that type of drive, it’s just a special thing,” Coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. “They’re the heartbeat of our team.”

NU kicked into high gear immediately after the first whistle, grabbing an early four-point lead over the Aztecs. Gilbert and Girardi stole the show for the Cats, collecting goals one after the other. The team’s offensive versatility was on display, with 11 different players recording goals.

Despite losing junior attacker Izzy Scane to a season-ending injury in December, NU is finding its rhythm on the offensive end of the field. Gilbert, Girardi and junior attacker Erin Coykendall have been central players to the Cats’ offense this season. The three players lead the squad this season in goals and points.

Amonte Hiller said the team has prioritized the team effort this season following Scane’s injury. She said the Cats realized players needed to give their all on the field to continue their success from last year’s pivotal season.

The tides turned in the second quarter when San Diego State went on an offensive run of its own. Finishing the first period with only two goals, the Aztecs grabbed control of the ball and made it hard for NU to keep possession. But San Diego’s momentum dwindled with over six minutes remaining. The Cats extended their lead to ten goals before ending the first half.

“I’m most proud of our energy (this weekend),” Gilbert said. “We’ve really been honing in on (it) so I thought that (our energy) was super consistent throughout the weekend.”

Coming back to the field for the third quarter, NU slowed down while the Aztecs had a 14 minute scoring drought. Gilbert and senior midfielder Elle Hansen were the only two players to score during the period. And yet, the Cats still held a double digit advantage over their opponents.

For the last 15 minutes, NU controlled the game, scoring two additional goals before the end of regulation. With only two games left in the regular season, NU is setting itself up nicely for a strong postseason run with wins over high stake competitors like No. 10 Rutgers and No. 22 Michigan.

The Cats will return to Lanny and Sharon Martin Stadium Saturday to face Johns Hopkins for Senior Day.

Gilbert will be one of NU’s fifth years being honored next weekend, being a leader for the team on and off the field. She felt this season has been “rewarding” and a great experience to continue her lacrosse career for the Cats.

“I think taking a fifth year puts you in a different position, but I think we embrace the opportunity,” Gilbert said. “I’ve found a lot of great relationships with younger girls…so I’m excited to keep going and see what we can do.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @sswann301

Related Stories: 

Lacrosse: No. 3 Northwestern defeats Penn State, Penn in weekend slate

Captured: No. 6 Northwestern lacrosse defeats No. 3 Syracuse 16-15 in OT

Lacrosse: No. 3 Northwestern attack relies on creativity, depth to win games