Lacrosse: Northwestern looks to rebuild, remain competitive on national scale


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Senior attacker Erin Coykendall. The playmaker will play an important leadership role on attack this season.

Charlotte Varnes, Managing Editor

Lacrosse has long been one of Northwestern’s most dominant programs. Seven national titles, a Big Ten Tournament championship and 13 NCAA semifinal appearances under coach Kelly Amonte Hiller have cemented the team’s prominent standing on the national level.

The Wildcats have only continued to reach new heights in recent years. NU consistently ranks among the country’s top 10 programs and has appeared in three-straight NCAA semifinal matchups.

This season, however, will require some rebuilding in Evanston. The Cats lost three of their top four scorers from 2022 after graduating midfielders Jill Girardi and Brennan Dwyer and attacker Lauren Gilbert.

But a group of talented younger players may step up in their place. Senior attacker Erin Coykendall will play an important leadership role as a playmaker. Sophomore midfielders Samantha Smith and Sammy White are set to step up on the draw circle and on offense, too. 

The return of graduate student attacker Izzy Scane could also make a significant difference for NU. Scane was one of the country’s top players in 2021, setting the NCAA record for goals per game and ranking among the leading scorers nationally. Out with an ACL injury in 2022, Scane will no doubt anchor the Cats’ offense upon her return.

Defense is a significant question mark for NU entering 2023. Goalkeeper Madison Doucette — a staple of the Cats’ defense for three seasons — entered the transfer portal, and it’s unclear who will replace her in the cage. The program’s only true defender, Ally Palermo, graduated, leaving younger players to take the helm. Junior midfielders Carleigh Mahoney and Kendall Halpern were among the team’s leaders on caused turnovers and ground balls in 2022 and will lead the unit in 2023.

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Twitter: @charvarnes11

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