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

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Cats Corner: Sliding into the lacrosse postseason

A look at the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team’s last few games and predictions for the rest of the season.


ANAVI PRAKASH: 14 games later, the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team’s regular season finale is on Sunday at Michigan.

From The Daily Northwestern, this is Anavi Prakash –

JAKE EPSTEIN: and Jake Epstein. Welcome to a new episode of Cats Corner, a podcast about all things sports and purple pride. This week, we’re going to recap the last few games and talk about things to look out for for the rest of the lacrosse season, both the end of the regular season and the postseason.

[music fade out]

ANAVI PRAKASH: Let’s start with the game at Maryland. In the last episode, you said you would be rooting for Northwestern even though Maryland is your home state. How was Northwestern’s performance to reach their 17-9 win?

JAKE EPSTEIN: Well, I might have said I’ll be rooting for Northwestern, but as a journalist, I was just rooting for good storylines. And the greatest storyline arose where Northwestern walked into College Park, a venue it hadn’t won in since 2006, and not only did the ’Cats win, the ’Cats dominated.

Attacking wise, Maddy Taylor and Izzy Scane could do no wrong, scored at will. Both of them piled in a bunch of points. I believe Madison Taylor is currently leading the Big Ten in points scored. Izzy Scane’s leading the Big Ten in goals scored, so you got two of the top attacking threats in the country. Defensively, Maryland could not get any attacking traction.

The Terps have a lot of stars. A former number one overall recruitment in the class of 2022, Kori Edmondson, who Kelly Amonte Hiller did recruit a few years back. She had one early goal but then after that kind of went silent. They held Eloise Clevenger, who’s one of the top scorers in the country, down to just two goals, both of which came in the fourth quarter. It was just an out and out drubbing I would say, in enemy territory no less.

ANAVI PRAKASH: Let’s talk about the ’Cats’ defense a little bit.

JAKE EPSTEIN: Let’s do it.

ANAVI PRAKASH: So, Sammy White is a junior defender. She was out for six games with an injury, so how is it having her back on the field?

JAKE EPSTEIN: Oh, it’s huge in the sense that it frees up the other defenders to be a lot more aggressive, especially Kendall Halpern and Jane Hansen, they’re able to make those forward runs between the 30s, push the tempo and Sammy, of course, is one of the most dynamic players in the country when healthy. Early on in the year you could see her, she was struggling a little bit, did not have the explosiveness that made her just a crucial piece of that championship run. The defense as a whole was a crucial piece of that run, but Sammy really came into her own toward the end of her sophomore year and to have her back and really improving with each passing game is huge for Amonte Hiller’s team. We’re seeing, she’s making these rows, she’s drawing charges like she did against Ohio State this past weekend.

She’s a tremendous player when healthy and she’s easing her way back in, she’s playing significant minutes, and she’s playing very well. Somehow, someway, she was named an Honorable Mention All American, despite missing six games, for Inside Lacrosse’s midseason All American list. The way she’s playing, she’s going to be a huge piece of this team’s postseason run.

ANAVI PRAKASH: Yeah, and with Sammy White, there’s obviously Izzy Scane, Madison Taylor, who you’ve already mentioned, but there are also other key players to this team, so who should we look out for for the rest of the season?

JAKE EPSTEIN: Erin Coykendall is just a wizard on the attack. The things that she can do with a ball in her stick are inexplicable. There’s the behind the backs, the fake behind the backs. It’s just so effortless, and every step she takes is so efficient. She is one of the smartest players in the country. And there’s a reason why she’s going to end up being a coach one day.

Of course Lindsey Frank has been a dynamic transfer out of Richmond this year. She played a big role in the field hockey team’s run to the national title game. She is gonna play a big role on the ’Cats’ run all the way to likely another national title game, so she’ll have two seasons this year where she’s gonna be playing postseason time in North Carolina, a place where two of her careers ended, actually. Her field hockey career ended in Chapel Hill when they fell to UNC in the national title game. Her lacrosse career at Richmond ended in Chapel Hill as well, during last year’s NCAA Tournament, so I think she’s going to win her final collegiate game in North Carolina.

But let’s get back on track here. Of course, we’ve got Sam Smith and Madi Smith on the draw, have been tremendous. Madi Smith, I think will win Big Ten Freshman of the Year and that’s always big, having a freshman step up the way that she’s done.

But let’s talk about the defense as well. Jane Hansen, she was a big piece off the bench last year, but now she is playing starter. She’s a crucial contributor on the defensive end. Kendall Halpern and Carleigh Mahoney — the two of them have just stepped up significantly, especially with Sammy White out, they’ve been tremendous back there. And I mean in terms of experience, that back line, the defense has played together, they have so much chemistry, basically returning every single piece from last year’s national championship run with the exception of Allie Berkery. That’s a great sign, especially with Molly Laliberty between the pipes. If she can put that game against Ohio State this past weekend behind her, it was a bit of a rough one, but the way that she plays, she’s so confident, she plays with such swagger, that I think that that game is … is just a wrong step and she’ll take two to three steps forward this weekend in Ann Arbor. But yeah, a lot of great pieces on this team. I’m sure I missed a few, there’s just so many.

ANAVI PRAKASH: Do you have any predictions for the game against Michigan?

JAKE EPSTEIN: Michigan, so I’ll give you a few players to watch on that Michigan team off the bat. Jill Smith has given Northwestern fits in the past few years and she’s a tremendous attacker, broke Michigan’s all-time goalscoring record in a comeback victory over Johns Hopkins. Now, if Michigan lost that game, Northwestern would have already clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title. But I know Kelly Amonte Hiller does not want to get it that easily. She wants to go in and win an outright title when she has to win because if Northwestern loses this game, there’s a chance they fall all the way back to the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten tournament. That’s not catastrophic or anything, the Big Ten tournament will be at Martin Stadium, so they’ll have home field advantage no matter what.

But I think that, thus far in the year, this is the most important game that they’ll play and that’s exactly where they want to be. That’s what she said postgame after Ohio State. Kelly said that after the loss to Penn State, they wanted to control their own destiny in the Big Ten. Now you’ve got that. Now you have one game that will decide if you win the Big Ten regular season title or not. They’re gonna go out and they’re going to work really hard.

And there’s also, of course, Erin O’Grady is a tremendous goalkeeper, arguably the top goalkeeper in the nation this season. Her save percentages are incredible, her goals against average is ridiculous, she’s been phenomenal. And of course defending, I caught a glimpse of Jordyn Harrison for the first time, she’s a transfer out of Richmond. I saw her playing at the U.S. U20 trial, like national tryouts. She was just phenomenal. It’s like, you look at the sheet of where these players are coming from and you’re like, ‘She’s coming from this school?’ Of course, she transfers into the Big Ten, it’s been absolutely incredible this year and her game against Hopkins, she single-handedly turned the tide of that game, and to see a defender turn the tide of a game where you’re losing, I believe 8-3, in like a snap of a finger, that’s crazy. Mind you, I can’t snap very well, but like you get the point.

In terms of a prediction though, I think Northwestern will win the game. I think it’ll be close, but I think Northwestern will prevail, take home that No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament, take home the outright regular season title for the second year in a row and be back to Martin Stadium for semifinal and the final, the Big Ten Championship. Probably end up playing against Michigan or Maryland, but who knows, maybe someone else will catch fire and make a run this tournament. That’s the beauty of postseason play, plays could happen that you’re like ‘Wow, how is that going on?’

JAKE EPSTEIN: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Jake Epstein.

ANAVI PRAKASH: And I’m Anavi Prakash. Thanks for listening to another episode of Cats Corner. This episode was reported and produced by Jake Epstein and Anavi Prakash. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Carlotta Angiolillo, the digital managing editors are Sonya Dymova and Micah Sandy, and the editor in chief is Jacob Wendler. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.

[music fade out]


Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @Jakeepste1n


Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @anavi_52


Preview of Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse
Northwestern lacrosse’s Amonte Hiller discusses recruiting
Northwestern lacrosse defeats Ohio State with Belichick in attendance

More to Discover