Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Lacrosse: No. 1 Northwestern falls 14-13 to No. 2 Boston College in national championship battle

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Lacrosse: No. 1 Northwestern falls 14-13 to No. 2 Boston College in national championship battle

Henry Frieman/The Daily Northwestern
Northwestern players console one another after falling 14-13 to Boston College in Sunday’s national title game.

CARY, N.C. — As No. 2 Boston College cut down the WakeMed Soccer Park nets and white confetti spread across the grass surface, graduate student attackers Izzy Scane and Erin Coykendall sat side-by-side, reeling in their emotions in the moments following Sunday’s national title game.

Scane, Coykendall and sophomore attacker Madison Taylor each had the ball in their sticks during Northwestern’s last-minute push for a tying score, but coach Kelly Amonte Hiller’s team was denied at the doorstep by opposing goalkeeper Shea Dolce in a 14-13 defeat.

“It was an awesome game for the sport today,” Amonte Hiller said. “We’re not happy with the result, but just really proud of the group. The way they fought this year, seniors, fifth-year, sixth-year group — what they’ve done for this program, it’s been incredible.”

Despite racing out to a 6-0 first-quarter advantage, the Wildcats (18-3, 5-1 Big Ten) fell into a hole with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game and never climbed out as the Eagles (20-3, 7-2 ACC) held on to secure their second-ever national title. 

The initial period appeared reminiscent of last year’s championship game, where NU built a significant cushion and didn’t relent. Senior defenders Kendall Halpern and Carleigh Mahoney seemingly covered every corner of the defensive zone, and graduate student goalkeeper Molly Laliberty made her cage appear as an impenetrable fortress.

However, Boston College coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein opened up her team’s attacking gameplan, and the Eagles stormed back into contention.

Boston College attacker Kayla Martello spearheaded the champions’ comeback effort with five goals, and attacker Rachel Clark pitched in a game-high four helpers. Dolce made nine saves, including a point-blank kick save on graduate student attacker Dylan Amonte’s shot in the closing seconds. 

Last year, Dolce allowed 18 goals in the national championship. Sunday, she soared to hero distinction in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Just after the final horn sounded, a disconsolate Coykendall hugged assistant coach Scott Hiller, Taylor and several other teammates and staff members, before she walked off the collegiate field one final time. 

“We just talked about it in the locker room. That’s why it’s so hard — because we care so much,” Coykendall said, holding back tears. “Our experiences have been nothing short of amazing. You just look back at the five years and the relationships you’ve built, you can’t beat it.”

Seated to Coykendall’s left, Scane added a simple “what she said,”’ to her attack partner and best friend’s parting words. The two combined for eight points in their final game as teammates, with Scane scoring a team-high five goals and Coykendall converting two sidearm snipes and recording an assist.

“These two young women, they care a lot about Northwestern (and) Northwestern lacrosse,” Amonte Hiller said. “They’ve just been great ambassadors their entire career. Really, that’s what it’s about.”

Amonte Hiller said it was “very hard to put into words” the impact Scane and Coykendall had on her program. 

Both players committed to the program nearly a decade ago, helping NU end its 11-year title drought in a dominant 2023 season. 

“It’s very rare to have stars get along in any sport. That’s why these guys have done what they’ve done,” Amonte Hiller said. “They’re not about themselves, they’re about making each other look good. That’s really been the culture of our program, and hopefully the kids we have continue that tradition.”

For Scane, six years of memories conglomerated in her college career’s conclusion. A Clarkston, Michigan, native who scored more goals than any other NCAA Division I lacrosse player during her fabled career with the ’Cats, Scane said she’s seen herself grow significantly since she arrived in Evanston.

While “losing sucks,” she added that there’s plenty to look back and smile upon.

“I’ve had some of the best experiences of my entire life,” Scane said. “It’s been a really, really incredible ride. People like Erin and I got a little extra time … It’s been awesome. I love all the people I met through the sport, through Northwestern. It’s hard not to smile…  and I’m glad I could finish my time in the last week of May.”

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