By Marcus Wilson
The #3 Wildcats begin this season at home against Detroit Mercy (5pm CT). Here are three players to watch for when the first whistle blows:
Izzy Scane (A)- Nominated to the Big Ten Preseason and Tewaaraton Award watch lists, Scane will seek to replicate the success of her stellar first year. However, this season she’ll be attacking without graduated Selena Lasota, the program’s all-time leading scorer. With 104 points worth of production to replace, the Wildcats will now look for Scane to propel this offense and develop into a dependable primary option. In winning gold with coach Kelly Amonte Hiller and the USA national team at the U19 World Championships this past summer, she demonstrated her capacity to thrive in a leading role. Expect the Michigan native to be aggressive early in establishing herself as an offensive threat.
Elle Hansen (M)- Northwestern enters this year without two of last season’s starting midfielders, leaving young players like Hansen the opportunity to assume more playing time. In 2019, the sophomore only contributed on a limited basis, but later erupted for two goals in a pivotal quarterfinal matchup against Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament. She followed that up with a five goal, two assist effort in the U19 World Championship bracket. Hansen appears poised to take the next step, so watch as she looks to carve out a regular role in this Wildcat offense.
Julie Krupnick (GK)- If Amonte Hiller and company want to recapture last season’s postseason success, they must rely on stable goalkeeping. Krupnick led the Wildcats in 2019, starting twelve games in goal. Eventually supplanted by departed senior Mallory Weisse, Krupnick has a chance to start this year fresh. This opener gives the former All Big-Ten standout a shot to build confidence and create momentum as the season gets underway.