By Erin Coykendall & Izzy Scane | As told to Austin Siegel

Erin Coykendall and Izzy Scane delivered Northwestern a women’s lacrosse national championship in 2023, shared the stage at the Tewaaraton Awards and led the Wildcats to this month’s NCAA Tournament as the number-one team in the country.

As two of the greatest Northwestern lacrosse players of all-time prepare for one last ride together, Coykendall and Scane told TrueNU the story of their decade-long friendship.

They also spoke about borrowing the yacht of an NHL Hall of Famer. And opossum attacks.

Izzy Scane:

After we won the national championship in 2023, everyone on the team just wanted to hang out 24/7. We took the trophy everywhere.

We had it sitting with us at brunch one day and started talking about how we could make it on a boat with the trophy. Like, imagine if we could pull that off?

Erin Coykendall:

We got back from the national championship on a Monday, and I think this was on Tuesday morning. One of our teammates texted Kelly [Amonte Hiller] and was like “Hey Kelly! What are the chances Chris Chelios would let us borrow his yacht for the day?”

He had two daughters that played lacrosse here.


The Chelioses are awesome. They’re actually from the same town as me back in Michigan.


It was 75 degrees that day and we were just like, frolicking around. It was also Finals Week so there wasn’t a ton happening on campus.

Kelly texted us back, “Hang on, I’m at the dentist. Give me ten minutes.”


Kelly had been joking all season that she knew the Chelioses and maybe she could make something happen if we won. I don’t know how she pulled it off.


She called us back and asked if we could be down at this yacht club in an hour.




Somehow, this yacht shows up stocked with food, water, pizza and soda and ready to pick us up near Navy Pier.


So, now we’re just texting all our teammates like “Get in an Uber and get downtown.”

Everyone was there. Nobody on the team missed it.


It was just one of the coolest days I’ve ever been a part of. I think originally, we were just trying to mess with Kelly and then all of a sudden, we’re on this yacht in Lake Michigan.

Before an NCAA rule change pushed back the age when teams could begin recruiting, Northwestern hosted an annual winter camp for talented youth lacrosse players from across the country. It was part college visit, part recruiting showcase for the Wildcats.

That’s where Scane, a Michigan native who committed to Northwestern as a high school freshman, met Coykendall, a middle schooler from Western New York.


Even before we both knew we were going to Northwestern, we had a lot of fun playing together at those camps. I feel like they constantly put us on the same team, and I always thought Izzy was really impressive. Off the lacrosse field, she was super nice and outgoing.


We’re both very competitive. Any kind of sport, any kind of competition, we were always the two kids who were out there going the hardest. I think we’ve always been like that.

When my older brother and I were in high school, he started playing for a club lacrosse team in New York like 20 minutes from the Coykendalls. I was already committed to Northwestern at that point and so I started getting to know Erin pretty well.

We used to spend weekends up there and play lacrosse in Erin’s backyard and in the pool.

Even back then, she would pull out these tricks in the pool that would leave us in awe. Like these behind-the-backs and fakes that would just throw me and my brothers for a loop.




I think especially in our friendship, we’ve always been very sarcastic. Obviously if things get tough and we need one another, we’re always going to be there, but there’s also a lot of sarcasm, bickering and teasing each other. I think it’s been that way for a long time.

It’s similar when we’re texting or in a group chat. Izzy is always cracking jokes.


I think Erin is one of those people where you can’t tell when she’s messing with you.

We’ve done it couple of times to people on the team where we’re like “Oh sorry guys, Kelly says we have practice tomorrow,” when we know they just made plans.

It’s been very entertaining to watch some of the younger girls on the team who are just getting to know her and still trying and figure out when Erin is being serious or not.


We were just talking about this a few days ago. We’re both 23 right now and when we think back to our freshman year, we were really able to connect with the older girls on the team.

Just because so many of our teammates are younger than us, they’re not inferior. I don’t think either of us has an attitude of like “Oh, I’m 23 and you’re 18.”

But yes, we still mess with the freshmen. We tease them the way we tease each other.


Some of our teammates were still in middle school when I first came to Northwestern. Thinking about that is really wild, but one thing that helps me is that have I younger siblings who are around the same age. So, I think I understand that generation a little bit.

We’ve really seen the freshman mature as they’ve gone through their first few months of school. But it was crazy when they first got here this season. I was like “These are just kids,” and you can’t help but think about what you were like when you were that age.

Coykendall and Scane’s first season together was wiped out by COVID after just seven games, before an undefeated season in 2021 ended with a loss in the Final Four.

Then, during a fall scrimmage a few months later, Scane tore her ACL and missed the entire 2022 season, watching another Final Four exit from the sidelines.

That set the stage for 2023 and a chance for Coykendall and Scane to get back on the field together.

The one thing standing in their way? North America’s only native marsupial.


My Mom loves animal, so growing up I had all the typical pets, plus hermit crabs and turtles. Right now, we have five dogs and three cats back home, plus two outdoor cats that we take care of that have basically become our cats.

So, we get opossums and raccons and foxes that come by and eat the food we leave out.


There are these videos from back in high school of Erin and her sister getting squirrels out of their pool and she’s just picking them up with her hands.

A couple of years ago we were at school and there was this opossum stuck on a fence. It couldn’t get down, so Erin went to grab it and it ended up biting her. She had to go to the hospital and get a rabies shot. It was just the most Erin thing in the world.

She’s a big fan of animals that I wouldn’t necessarily be catching with my hands.



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It comes from my Mom. We have these Ring cameras set up around our house, really just to check in on all the animals. My Mom was visiting me in Evanston last week and she asked me to text my sister. She’s like “Tell her to feed the opossum out front. He’s hungry.”


A rabies vaccine isn’t something you normally worry about. I remember Erin texted our athletic trainer “How do I handle this?” She was fine, but I don’t think Kelly even found out until we got to practice, and she’s like “Why does Erin have Band-Aids all over her hand?”

In the 2023 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse National Championship, Scane scored four goals, Coykendall scored three and Northwestern defeated Boston College to bring a national title back to Evanston for the first time since 2012.

It was a milestone moment for Coykendall and Scane, who would fly to Washington D.C. later that spring as two of the nation’s five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award – the Heisman Trophy of lacrosse. Scane became the first Wildcat to win the award in 12 years.

But all the success also brought questions – both players had the option to return to Evanston for one more year of eligibility and a big decision to make about their future.


After we left the field at the national championship, there are so many little things that you remember. We all ended up at a little dive bar near the stadium. A few weeks later, Izzy and Dylan [Amonte] and I all got matching lip tattoos. And then there was the yacht.


The only year I haven’t played with Erin at Northwestern was my freshman year, and ever since, we’ve always fed off each other as friends and teammates.

I just thought that would it be a little crazy coming back here without Erin and we definitely wouldn’t have the same success without her on the field.


Izzy knew she was coming back before I did and I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do, so we had a lot of those conversations together.

I remember we went to the beach a few weeks after the season ended, and we were walking back together, and Izzy goes “I just don’t understand what’s taking so long.”

I really wanted to make sure I could give everything I had to the team physically and mentally. But Izzy was like “We just won a national championship. Let’s do it again.”

Getting to play with her again was a huge part of my decision.


I have a younger brother who I would describe as very similar to Erin: You hate them if they’re not on your team, but if you’re on their team then you absolutely love them.

We put so much time into our sport and spend like five hours a day in the team facility together. I think she just has the attitude of like “If you’re not going to go all out, why are you doing it?”

After a year like last year and how incredible that experience was, I just thought why wouldn’t she want to replicate that again this year and take it a whole other level?



We might fight like sisters, but we’re always the first to jump in and defend each other.

I remember once we had some argument where we didn’t talk for like two weeks, but then something happened at practice where someone said something to her and I was like “Hey, Izzy is just trying to help.” And then that was basically the resolution of our fight.

When we need to be there for each other, I know we always will.

Running it back in 2024, Coykendall and Scane picked up right where they left off.

Northwestern won both the Big Ten Conference regular season and tournament titles for the third time in the last four seasons, with Scane tying the NCAA’s all-time scoring record in the tournament championship game.

For the second straight season, Northwestern will enter the NCAA Tournament as the number one overall seed. The Wildcats earned a first-round bye and will host the winner of Stanford and Denver on Sunday, May 12 in the second round at 1pm CT (ESPN+) in Evanston.

For Coykendall and Scane, it’s a curtain call on the biggest stage in college lacrosse. 520 goals later, they’re leaving their sport and their program in a better place than they found it.


Right now, I know we’re both pumped up because this is just the most fun time of year. Definitely hungry for success and just to show everyone the best version of ourselves.

I remember going to an event with TrueNU where we got to meet some of the people who literally have their name on our field, and it was incredible to see some of the faces and personalities behind our team and who we’re representing every time we go out there.

We also visited an elementary school with TrueNU and got to talk with so many little kids. I was just blown away by that next generation and some of their really intelligent questions.



Izzy and I met a girl who literally went to the M&M store in New York City and made these purple and white M&Ms that said “Izzy + Erin” and “Go Cats.” It’s amazing meeting all of those little girls who are really engaged with our sport and bought in.

I remember when played Maryland this season, their entire men’s lacrosse team was like sitting behind our sideline and screaming nonsense at us all game. But then we walked out of the stadium and met these girls who won’t even graduate high school until 2029 and they were so excited to take photos with us and tell us how they’ve watched us all year.

Lacrosse is growing but it’s still a niche community and knowing we have all those little girls watching us makes me feel like we’re part of this sport and where it’s going.


I don’t think Erin and I love posting on social media or being in front of the camera, but we still do anything we can to represent Northwestern or reach that next generation.

We want to show all those lacrosse girls that there are different ways to get here and so many experiences that you’re going to have along the way. We figured it out together.