#1 Northwestern Edges #3 Duke, 11-10 in Overtime

BOSTON - In an epic battle of two lacrosse heavyweights, Northwestern was the one left standing at the end as senior and Boston native Sarah Albrecht scored the game-winner with 37 seconds left in the first half of overtime to give NU an 11-10 win over top-seeded Duke and put the Wildcats in the NCAA championship game for the second straight year.

Northwestern will face seventh-seeded Dartmouth, a 14-8 winner over Notre Dame, at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday. The game will be aired live on CSTV and can be heard live on WNUR (89.3 FM) and NUsports.com's All-Access. The Wildcats last met the Big Green in one of last year's two NCAA semifinal matches. Northwestern also will attempt to become the first Wildcat team to record back-to-back NCAA team titles win a win on Sunday.

Duke's Katie Chrest gave Duke a 10-9 lead with 12 minutes left in the game and it stayed that way over the next six minutes until Hilary Bowen found a cutting Kristen Kjellman for her fourth goal of the game to tie the score at 10-10 with six minutes left. After a flurry of turnovers and missed scoring opportunities on both sides, Duke found itself in position to win the game at the end of regulation. The Blue Devils held the ball for the final 2:41 to ensure the last shot, but were turned away by Morgan Lathrop and the NU defense to force overtime.

In the first three-minute period, Albrecht made NU's one shot count as she was able to fire her only shot of the game past Duke's Meghan Huether for what proved to be the game- winner with 37 ticks left in the period. After taking the lead into the second half of overtime, the clock almost seemed as if it were in slow motion. Duke had the first scoring opportunity in the period, but Lathrop bailed the 'Cats out with her 10th save of the game and the Wildcats fended off a hard- charging Duke defense as Christy Finch slung the ball into the air as the final horn sounded.

"That was one of the best lacrosse games that I have ever been a part of," head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. "I give a lot of credit to Duke and how they played. It was a great battle that could have gone either way–but I'm really happy it went our way. I think we played very smart down the stretch and I'm very proud of our girls."

The game was back and forth throughout with a total of eight ties and eight lead changes. Katie Chrest got Duke on the board first at the 2:22 mark before Aly Josephs tied it with an unassisted goal six minutes into the half. But 35 seconds later, Rachel Sanford put Duke back in front on a free-position attempt.

Two straight goals by Kristen Boege and Kjellman gave NU a brief 3-2 advantage before back-to-back goals by Duke shifted the momentum back to the Devils once again.

But then the Wildcats started to take control, holding Duke scoreless over the next 10 minutes and in the process, picked up goals by Meredith Frank, Kjellman and Laura Glassanos to take a 6-4 lead. The game stayed that way over the next four minutes and the hundreds of Northwestern fans in attendance thought they were headed to halftime with a two-point lead. That was before Chrest and Caroline Cryer each scored in the span of 11 seconds to tie the game at 6-6 in the final minute.

Duke would continue its attack and tallied two more goals to begin the second period and go out in front by two 8-6 with 23:57 left.

Giving up four straight goals and now trailing by two in the second half to the top-seeded team in the tournament, do you think these 'Cats ever panicked for one moment? Hardly.

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2006-05-27



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