Lacrosse: Northwestern earns No. 1 seed, first-round bye in NCAA Tournament


Daily file photo by Seeger Gray

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

Charlotte Varnes, Senior Staffer

For the first time since 2009, Northwestern has earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

The Wildcats (17-1, 6-0 Big Ten) received the top bid Sunday after launching a 17-game winning streak en route to the Big Ten regular-season and Tournament titles. 

As one of the tournament’s top three seeds, the Cats earned a first-round bye and hosting responsibilities. On Friday, Michigan and Central Michigan will face off in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Martin Stadium. NU will play the match winner on Sunday.

This year’s postseason bid marks the team’s 19th consecutive postseason appearance under coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, and its 24th overall. The Cats have found success in the postseason as of late, punching their ticket to the NCAA semifinals every year since 2019. 

Much of NU’s recent success can be attributed to graduate attacker Izzy Scane. Although Scane missed the 2022 campaign due to an ACL injury, she played a key role in leading the Cats to the NCAA semifinals in 2019 and 2021. Scane currently leads the nation with 81 goals and is considered a frontrunner for the Tewaaraton Award, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate lacrosse player. 

Scane is supported by several other dynamic offensive stars, including graduate student attacker Hailey Rhatigan and senior attacker Erin Coykendall. The Cats rank first in the country in scoring offense, averaging 17.55 goals per game. NU’s defense has been especially strong as well, anchored by graduate goalkeeper Molly Laliberty and sophomore defender Samantha White. 

Seemingly unstoppable through the end of the postseason, the Cats appear to be prepared to play deep into May. 

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Twitter: @charvarnes11

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