Northwestern lacrosse player Izzy Scane watches a ball during practice...

Northwestern lacrosse player Izzy Scane watches a ball during practice in Evanston, Ill., Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. Credit: AP/Nam Y. Huh

EVANSTON, Ill. — Izzy Scane knows all about Charlotte North, another dynamic attacker and one of the biggest names in women's lacrosse.

She just had no idea she was on pace to break North's NCAA scoring record, insisting she had no clue.

“I didn't actually know that,” a smiling Scane said.

It's no act, either. While Iowa guard Caitlin Clark is approaching the NCAA scoring record in women's basketball, another humble star looks primed to take down the NCAA Division I record for women's lacrosse goals — even if she doesn't seem to care about the idea one bit.

Scane and Northwestern begin their NCAA title defense when they host Syracuse on Saturday at a sold-out Ryan Fieldhouse. Scane begins the season with 288 goals in 63 games, well in reach of North's 358 goals in 87 games for Boston College and Duke from 2018-22.

The fact that Scane had no idea she was approaching North's record was no surprise to longtime friend and teammate Erin Coykendall, another key player in Northwestern's high-scoring attack.

“She's not chasing the most goals in the country,” Coykendall said. “She's chasing a national championship and team success. ... She's a competitor as an individual, but she competes for the team.”

Northwestern's Izzy Scane plays with a ball while warming up...

Northwestern's Izzy Scane plays with a ball while warming up for practice in Evanston, Ill., Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. Credit: AP/Nam Y. Huh

An athletic, physical presence with otherworldly body control, Scane totaled 99 goals and 35 assists in 20 games last season as the Wildcats rolled to their first national title since 2012 and No. 8 overall for the vaunted program. She won the Tewaaraton Award — college lacrosse's version of the Heisman Trophy — on June 1.

Along the way, Scane was cheered on by countless young fans of one of North America's fastest growing sports, many of them in ponytails and hoping to follow in her footsteps. Much like Clark and women's basketball, it's a level of attention she is still getting used to — and a responsibility she takes seriously.

“I'm not exactly the most outgoing personality, so I didn't really anticipate when I came into college athletics that that would be such a big piece of it,” she said. “I didn't think I'd be in the position I'm in now to kind of have that influence, so that's definitely been something, it's been a bit of a learning curve having to kind of come out of my shell a little bit.”

Growing up in Michigan, Scane was a competitive gymnast. As her interest in gymnastics waned, she used to run across the massive gym where she had practice, and her coaches suggested to her parents that she might enjoy a sport with more running.

Northwestern's Erin Coykendall, left, watches Izzy Scane shoot as they...

Northwestern's Erin Coykendall, left, watches Izzy Scane shoot as they warm up for lacrosse practice in Evanston, Ill., Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. Credit: AP/Nam Y. Huh

Her mother, Patricia, ran track at Grand Valley State University, and her father, Joseph, was a wrestler at the school. Joseph also took a lacrosse class while he was at Grand Valley State, and Izzy followed James Scane — one of her three brothers — into the sport.

“I loved it, right away,” she said. “I loved the physicality. I loved running up and down. ... I was definitely a lax rat the second I touched a stick.”

Around the same time, Izzy Scane also fell in love with the lacrosse program at Northwestern. So much so that she wrote a letter to coach Kelly Amonte Hiller as part of a sixth-grade project, declaring that she was coming to play for her.

Scane isn't sure if the letter ever got to Amonte Hiller, and the coach said she doesn't remember receiving one from her. But Amonte Hiller is sure glad it worked out.

“I feel like humility is a big part of our program, and Izzy definitely embodies that,” Amonte Hiller said. “If you watch her, when her teammates score or make big plays, she gets more excited than when she makes a play. She's very unselfish like that.”

Gratitude is also a big part of Amonte Hiller's program, something Scane learned more about when she missed the 2022 season after she tore her right ACL during a scrimmage against Notre Dame.

While she was out, Scane watched and waited. It was a reset that provided a deeper understanding of how much she loved lacrosse and playing for Northwestern.

“You really take for granted how incredible of an experience college athletics is until you're kind of out of it,” she said.

The injury played a role in her decision to come back for a sixth year and fifth season with the Wildcats. Her love for lacrosse likely will keep her playing past her collegiate experience, first in a professional league and possibly all the way to Team USA for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

“I think about it a lot, just cause that's four years from now and this will be my last college year,” she said.

“It's definitely a dream I didn't know would be possible when I started playing lacrosse, and now it is. So if I can hold in there for that long, that'd be very cool. But we'll have to see. It's a bit down the line.”

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