Staff Predictions: 2022 Lacrosse Season

By WNUR Sports Staff

LAX is back! After making the Final Four year, the Wildcats travel to the defending national champion’s home, facing the top-ranked Boston College Eagles to kick off the 2021 season. The two teams will clash at 11 am CT Saturday. Here are our staff predictions for how the season will unfold:

Ally Navarrete (@ally_nav12): 12-4

The ‘Cats will have some TOUGH competition to face this season, taking on eleven teams ranked in the preseason Top 25. Despite the loss of offensive powerhouse Izzy Scane to injury, the team will be a force on offense, led by the likes of Lauren Gilbert and Erin Coykendall. Kelly Amonte Hiller and the ‘Cats will face a few losses along the way, but they’ll undoubtedly be ready for a deep run in May. Expect to see greatness from this squad yet again.  

Margaret Fleming (@mgfleming12): 13-3

This is going to be a big year for the ‘Cats. Yes, Scane is out, but it takes a lot more than one player to win the Big Ten Tournament and make it all the way to the NCAA Semifinals. It won’t be a perfect season, but this team is talented and hungry, and they’re not going away any time soon. They’ve got a really tough schedule, but I’m predicting the ‘Cats will hold their own through most of the regular season and have another successful postseason run.

Gavin Dorsey (@gjdorsey7): 12-4

Northwestern enters 2022 in a bit of a tough spot, as several of the top teams return their stars (i.e. Charlotte North) while the ‘Cats find themselves without their own in Izzy Scane. The reigning Big Ten Champs will need a huge year out of Lauren Gilbert to replicate Scane’s impact on the scoring end, along with Leah Holmes. On the bright side, the team returns four huge pieces in grad students Brennan Dwyer, Jill Girardi and Ally Palermo, in addition to Gilbert. The team is faced with an absolutely brutal schedule out of the gates, and the success of the ‘Cats in the draw circle, an area they struggled with at times last season, will directly correlate with how they perform against some of the country’s top teams. I think Northwestern will initially struggle to adapt to a post-Scane play-style, but will find its footing late in the season en route to another Big Ten title.

Jacob Brown (@cubsfans57): 13-3

It looked like this would be the year that NU finally puts it all together. After coming so close last year, only to lose in the Final Four, NU was able to bring back Lauren Gilbert, Ally Palermo, Jill Girardi and Brennan Dwyer for one final ride….and then Izzy Scane tore her ACL. This is still a Northwestern team with a ton of talent, by far enough to be the best in the conference. But without their best player, I think the Cats will struggle to compete with the likes of Syracuse, Boston College and UNC (their three regular season losses.) Scane will likely return next year, as well as Erin Coykendall, who has emerged as a star in her own right. The key this season, in my eyes, is for players like Hunter Chadwick, Kendall Halpern and Leah Holmes to step up so that next year NU can make one final push with Scane.

John Riker (@john_riker): 14-2

A matchup against the No. 1 team in the nation might seem daunting for some teams, but Northwestern wouldn’t have it any other way and will embrace the challenge with a roster that has both experience and talent. It will most definitely be a challenge– Boston College is the defending national champion and haven’t lost to the Wildcats since 2013. In a potential Final Four matchup, this one will determine the team to beat in the nation and looks to be a close matchup. After starting 15-0 last season, I see Northwestern starting out the 2022 season strong, too, and I’ll take the Cats 20-17 in a tight one on the road.

John Volk (@jk_volk): 13-3

The old adage of 2021 Northwestern lacrosse said that Lauren Gilbert would be the best player on any other team that didn’t already have Izzy Scane. 2022 will put that to the test. If the Wildcats are to get back to the Final Four, it will be because Gilbert stepped up as the new No. 1 scoring option. She won’t have to score six goals a game, but the mantle is heavy. Expect a few stumbles early as Northwestern finds a new offensive rhythm during a challenging non-conference slate, including all three of the other NCAA semifinal teams, but road games at Penn and Maryland could offer key victories down the stretch.

Brea Lassek (@BreaLassek): 12-4

Northwestern will take a step back this year after an undefeated regular season campaign in 2021. With the dangerous tandem of Izzy Scane and Lauren Gilbert reduced to just Gilbert for 2022, the better teams will have an easier time game planning for Northwestern’s offense. Expect Erin Coykendall to have a breakout year, and sophomores Leah Holmes and Carleigh Mahoney to be much more involved on the attacking end. The Cats still have great chemistry on defense with graduate student Ally Palermo holding down the fort and senior Madison Doucette in goal. Northwestern plays a regular season schedule loaded with national talent this year, and I predict close matchups between Boston College, Syracuse and UNC. Look for NU to have success later in the season once they fully establish their offense without Scane, leading to an appearance in the Elite Eight.

Avrami Hacker: 14-2

With a weak Big Ten other than Maryland, I say the Cats go 14-2 in the regular season. Should be another great year for the ‘Cats who win the Big Ten tournament and roll into another Final Four at a chance for the NCAA Championship.

Andrew Neville (@AndrewNeville20): 14-2

This team seemingly has all the pieces in place to be dynamic. With the best roster on paper in the conference, Northwestern should roll through the B1G schedule and in the conference tournament. A couple early tests against Boston College and North Carolina will result in losses, however, preventing an undefeated season. The team will also make some inroads in the NCAA tournament, but ultimately the loss of Izzy Scane will be too much to overcome and the quest for hardware will have to wait until next season.