The phrase “college sports juggernaut” may not exactly come to mind when you say “Northwestern University,” but for women’s lacrosse, it absolutely should.

The Wildcats won their eighth national championship on Sunday, defeating Boston College 18-6 in the NCAA finals in Cary, North Carolina.

More than 150 fans cheered the Cats Monday afternoon, as the squad’s bus arrived with a police escort at the Walter Athletics Center.

“It’s everything. It’s what you dream of when you’re little,” the team’s superstar, Izzy Scane, told reporters.

NU lacrosse star Izzy Scane addresses media on Monday at Walter Atlhetics Center on campus.

“I’ve been crying every ten minutes,” Scane added. “This is the closest team I’ve ever been part of.”

Scane, who set NU records for goals in a season and in a career, was also named most outstanding player in the NCAA tournament.

But “Izzy doesn’t care about records and honors” said coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. “She just wants to win.”

This was Northwestern’s first national lacrosse championship in 11 years, but before that, the Wildcats won the crown in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012.

Amonte Hiller has been coach for all of them.

Lacrosse coach Kelly Almonte Hiller.

“This isn’t my first, but it’s my first in awhile,” she said, “so it feels like my first.”

Amonte Hiller is now tied with her former coach at Maryland, Cindy Timchal, for the most national championships.

Amonte Hiller, who built the NU program into a national powerhouse, said she’s seen a lot more little girls playing lacrosse in Illinois lately.

“I”m lucky to be part of this sport at this time,” she said.

“It’s booming. The sky is the limit.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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