Rapid Recap: Northwestern 19, Penn State 9


Daily file photo by Seeger Gray

Graduate student attacker Izzy Scane. The Michigan native leads the country with 81 goals in 2021.

Skye Swann, Assistant Sports Editor

Entering Ryan Fieldhouse, Northwestern already reached impeccable heights this season — defeating reigning National Champions and then-No.1 North Carolina on Mar. 19.

However, the Wildcats (11-1, 3-0 Big Ten) still had much to prove as they returned to their regular conference season schedule Thursday against Penn State — even though they were projected to cruise past the Nittany Lions (9-3, 2-1 Big Ten). Yet, by the final buzzer, the Cats’ offensive dominance on the field solidified those projections, winning 19-9.

The game started in typical NU fashion, giving Penn State the opportunity to score off of a fast break play. And still, the Cats quickly responded, tying the score with ease. From there, NU went on a 5 goal scoring run in the first quarter, showcasing their slowed down motion and fast transition plays simultaneously.

The Cats controlled the majority of the game, having an offensive field day against Penn State’s goalkeeper Ashley Bowan. Regardless of the Nittany Lions attempts to get themselves back within the game, NU remained unstoppable kicking it into another gear.

Courtesy of graduate student attacker Izzy Scane’s six goals, the Cats cruised past Penn State and extended their 11 game win streak.

Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s contest.


1. Northwestern’s versatility on the offensive end makes them a lethal weapon

While all eyes in the NCAA Division I Lacrosse world have been on Scane, the Cats offensive arsenal is on all ends of the eight meter. Whether it was senior attacker Erin Coykendall, graduate student attacker Hailey Rhatigan and freshman midfielder Madison Taylor, NU’s attack posed problems for Penn State Thursday.

In the game, five different players recorded points on the board, with Rhatigan coming in second with five goals. Even though the Cats allowed the Nittany Lions to offensively climb back into the contest halfway through the second quarter, the squad still remained offensively dominant inside the eight meter.

NU’s offensive versatility on the floor is the biggest weapon to fuel the Cats into the postseason and potentially their spot in the 2023 NCAA Division I Lacrosse National Championship.

2. Defensive pressure forces Penn State turnovers

The Cats defensive tenacity, led by sophomore defender/midfielder Samantha White, was unstoppable Thursday. In the game, the defense forced 21 turnovers and recorded eight saves to keep the Nittany Lions from getting within one goal.

Sophomore midfielder Samantha Smith led the charge with four turnovers, halting Penn State midfielder Kristin O’Neill from getting much motion on the offensive end of the floor. With NU’s ability to shut down their opponents top scorers, they’ve improved from their previous season’s struggles with their competitors scoring double digits in a contest.

Even though Penn State made a comeback late in the third quarter, NU’s defensive backbone kept the squad in the lead for the entire regulation.

3. The Wildcats hit the road to face Rutgers next week

Following Thursday’s win, the Cats will continue their conference schedule on the road in Piscataway, N.J.

With the week break before the next game, it is crucial for NU to remain hot offensively and ensure their defense shuts down a high-attacking unit in the Scarlet Knights.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @sswann301

Related Stories:
Lacrosse: What To Watch For: No. 2 Northwestern braces for Big Ten battle against No. 18 Penn State
Rapid Recap: No. 2 Northwestern 20, Stanford 9
Rapid Recap: No. 2 Northwestern 19, Johns Hopkins 5