This could arguably be the biggest weekend ever on campus in the history of women's athletics at Northwestern. Softball will host the Big Ten Tournament and the Lacrosse and Tennis teams will host NCAA tournament events this weekend.
This will mark the third time that the Big Ten has played their postseason softball tournament at Sharon J. Drysdale tournament AKA the J. In the two previous tournaments at the J, NU reached the championship game. They lost to Michigan 6-0 in 2006 and beat Iowa 1-0 in 2008.
NU enters the Big Ten Tournament after finishing fifth at 14-9 overall, a game and half behind Wisconsin. The Wildcats are 32-15 overall. According to CollegeSportsMadness.Com's bracketology Northwestern will be headed to Georgia for the NCAA Tournament.
Northwestern opens with Michigan State in the first round. This will mark the first ever game under the lights at the J. The Wildcats Swept the Spartans at the J last weekend by a composite score of 22-3. The first two games were mercy rules. The Wildcats had an 8-0 five inning victory in game one and 9-1 six inning win in game two.
A win by Northwestern puts them into the quarterfinal Friday against Wisconsin. They won two of three from the Badgers in March in Rosemont, Ill.
Lacrosse will begin their run for a tenth straight Final Four when they face the winner of Louisville and Ohio State on Sunday. The Buckeyes and Cardinals will play Friday at Lakeside field.
Northwestern split two match-ups with the Buckeyes this season. They lost their American Lacrosse Conference opener in Columbus in March and then beat the Buckeyes in the ALC semifinals in Evanston last weekend. The defeated Louisville two years ago in the programs only match-up.
If the Wildcats win Sunday, they are likely headed to Gainesville, Fla to face ALC rival Florida in the quarterfinals. If the Gators lose and NU wins, they would host next weekend.
Northwestern enters the NCAA Tournament coming off its 16th consecutive Big Ten Tournament title.
The 15th overall seeded Wildcats will host De Paul, Notre Dame and Miami (Oh) this weekend. The Wildcats play Miami friday at 4:00pm. If they survive that, they face the DePaul-Notre Dame winner Sunday at one. The winner advances to the Sweet 16 next weekend in Athens, GA.