NU LaX Dominates Denver 19-4
By Kikue Higuchi
Isolated at the top of the fan, Izzy Scane ripped a solo rocket straight into the high corner for her eighth goal of the game. She now totals 89 goals on the season, breaking the program’s single-season record, with plenty of lacrosse left to play.
In spite of her three solo goals, Scane said her teammates deserve all the credit for the way she played in today’s 19-4 win over Denver to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. She specifically named Erin Coykendall, who notched assists for half of Scane’s goals.
“I told her three times during the game how amazing she [Erin Coykendall] is,” Scane said. “She can get the ball in no matter where she’s at or where I’m at. Credit goes to her being able to get those balls into the middle through six sticks and right into my pocket.”
Coykendall similarly gives the credit for her own performance back to Scane and the rest of their teammates.
“Izzy is obviously unreal,” she said. “You can always count on her to finish on the passes you’re giving her. She draws a lot of attention from other teams, but she still finds those openings. If I’m able to hit them, it helps us a lot.”
Northwestern’s win today will carry them to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, where they are set to play Duke next weekend. Together, Scane and Coykendall accounted for nine assists and 10 of Northwestern’s 19 goals against Denver, the most goals allowed by the Pioneers all season.
If the Scane and Coykendall duo can continue their dominance, Northwestern will be in a good shape for the remainder of their postseason run. However, Head Coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said their success doesn’t exist within a vacuum.
Amonte Hiller attributed the chemistry between Coykendall and Scane to their work with the entire attack unit over the last two weeks.
“The group as a whole puts a lot of pressure on defenses,” she said. “It’s a real team unit. They go out and vibe off each other and play fearless. That’s what we’ve been emphasizing. I didn’t think we played as fearless as we could have in the Big Ten Tournament so that’s been our focus these last two weeks.”
Despite early synergy between Coykendall and Scane, Northwestern was unable to put Denver away in the first half. The Pioneers mounted a strong zone defense, allowing them to double up on Coykendall and Scane. Meanwhile, Denver’s Molly Little seemed to be unstoppable, putting away three shots easily.
The tide turned in the second half, overwhelmingly in Northwestern’s favor. The ‘Cats pulled off a 10-0 run which lasted the full thirty minutes and set the clock running. Both Scane and Amonte Hiller said the momentum shift lay largely on Jill Girardi’s shoulders.
Girardi dominated the circle, pulling down 12-of-21 Wildcat draw controls while holding the Pioneers to just five. She also excelled on Northwestern’s back line, causing a career-high five turnovers and allowing her teammates to control the ball and the game.
Even though she had a stand-out performance, Girardi said her strategy for this game was the same as always: get the ball to her offense and they’ll put it in the goal. So far, Girardi said, it has always worked.
“Possession is everything,” Scane said. “Being able to have the ball almost the whole game is such a game-changer in terms of what we can do on offense.”