Lacrosse: No. 4 Northwestern lights up the scoreboard, just short of No. 5 Syracuse in nail-biting thriller


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Graduate student attacker Izzy Scane heads towards the goal. The Tewaaraton Watch List nominee tallied five goals and two assists in her first competitive action since 2021.

Jake Epstein, Assistant Sports Editor

Eight months and two weeks removed from a Charm City crunch-time collapse versus North Carolina, No. 4 Northwestern readied for a heavyweight bout at No. 5 Syracuse. The Wildcats (0-1, 0-0 Big Ten) showed significant scoring prowess, but the Orange (1-0, 0-0 ACC) crushed hopes of a second-half comeback in a 16-15 victory Saturday.

Syracuse controlled the opening draw and quickly went on the attack. Just 37 seconds into the contest, the Orange drew first blood from graduate student Megan Carney’s shot that ripped the upper right corner of the goal.

NU answered right back with a goal. Sophomore midfielder Samantha Smith won the draw, and the Cats quickly progressed offensively. Senior attacker Erin Coykendall found freshman midfielder Madison Taylor inside the 12-meter, and the New York native fired home her first collegiate goal. Less than 40 seconds after the Orange conversion, NU leveled the score at 1-1.

Coykendall nearly hit paydirt with 8:54 remaining in the first quarter, but her shot hammered off the pipe. Not to be denied, the senior attacker put the Cats in front 2-1 off a feed from graduate student midfielder Elle Hansen.

While NU held Syracuse relatively in check since its early go-ahead goal, Carney added a second to her tally in the waning seconds of the first frame, leveling the score at 2-2 with just five seconds left in the primary period.

After a relatively quiet first period, graduate student attacker Izzy Scane scored what appears to be the first of many goals this season, courtesy of a Coykendall assist. The All-American put the Cats in front 3-2, but Orange sophomore attacker Olivia Adamson evened the score at 3-3 with 11:50 to play in the second quarter.

Moments later, Scane relinquished possession before committing a foul and receiving a yellow card, sending her to the sidelines and forcing the squad into a man-down situation. Syracuse senior midfielder Emma Tyrrell capitalized on the opportunity, lifting her squad up to a one-point advantage with under 10 minutes remaining prior to halftime. Flying high with much of the contest’s momentum, Orange junior midfielder Emma Ward extended the lead to 5-3.

Despite the contest being her first competitive collegiate action, the Cats’ Taylor appeared right at home, converting a crucial second goal of the contest that halved the deficit. The two-time All-American’s efforts were nullified by Syracuse to end the half, with three consecutive goals by Adamson, graduate student midfielder Tessa Queri and junior midfielder Maddy Baxter solidifying an 8-4 halftime lead.

In need of a quick turnaround, Smith controlled the opening draw, and Scane fed Elle Hansen, who sailed a shot into the net. Smith then won her second consecutive draw before adding a goal of her own, thanks in part to Scane’s second helper.

Thirty seconds later, Scane continued her dazzling display, adding her second goal to bring the game back within one. Syracuse graduate student attacker Meaghan Tyrrell responded to the NU offensive onslaught, but Scane completed her hat trick on a man-advantage to bring the score to 9-8 with 8:15 to play in the third quarter.

While the Cats’ quarter was filled with veteran heroics, Taylor’s dream debut continued on a free position shot, which she buried beyond the reach of Orange senior goalkeeper Delaney Sweitzer. With three goals apiece from its seasoned veteran scorer and freshman phenom, coach Kelly Amonte Hiller’s team stormed back to level terms.

Both sides traded scores as the quarter ran on, but Ward capitalized on a player-up scenario, sending Syracuse into the final quarter up 11-10.

Baxter opened the final frame scoring tally for the Orange, but Taylor continued to be lethal from the eight-meter, notching her fourth goal of the day to bring the score to 12-11. After Syracuse pulled two in front by way of Carney’s third goal, senior attacker Dylan Amonte responded with a free position goal before hitting Scane for her fourth goal of the contest. With 10:23 to play, the matchup was deadlocked at 13.

Carney put the Orange back in front 14-13 with 8:16 to play, and after three minutes of scoreless play, Amonte Hiller called a timeout.

With 4:23 left in the game, Syracuse committed a foul inside the eight-meter, putting the ball inside the scalding-hot stick of NU’s newest offensive weapon. Taylor piled on her fifth goal of her collegiate debut, knotting the game once more at 14 all.

However, the Tyrrell sisters each scored goals in response, and the Orange jumped out to a 16-14 advantage with 1:10 to play.

A late fifth Scane score put the contest within a goal, but it was too little, too late for the Cats as Syracuse held on to win 16-15.

NU returns home for the first of a two-game homestand at the Ryan Fieldhouse against Notre Dame on Thursday. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jakeepste1n

Related Stories:

Lacrosse: Scane returns for a fifth year, two graduate transfers join the Cats

Lacrosse: No. 4 Northwestern collapses against No. 1 North Carolina, loses third straight NCAA semifinal

Rapid Recap: Northwestern 14, North Carolina 15