#1 Northwestern Tops Dartmouth for Championship

BOSTON -- Northwestern did it again. The Wildcats (20-1) captured their second straight NCAA national championship with a 7-4 victory over Dartmouth Sunday afternoon in front of a record crowd at Boston University's Nickerson Field.

Aly Josephs (Reisterstown, Md./Franklin) scored four goals to lead the Wildcats. Tournament MVP Sarah Albrecht (Braintree, Mass./Thayer) added two goals and an assist for the Wildcats, who became the first team in school history to win back-to-back national titles.

Kristen Kjellman (Westwood, Mass./Westwood), Northwestern's leading scorer and a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award as the nation's top player, left the game with 1:05 remaining in the first half with a sprained ankle. She returned early in the second half, but was held without a point for the only time this season.

With Kjellman ailing, Northwestern -- the nation's highest scoring team -- was held to a season low in goals scored. But the Wildcats relied on a stingy defense to outscore Dartmouth 5-1 in the second half and hold the Big Green scoreless for the final 24:49. Lindsey Munday (Mountain Lakes, N.J./Mountain Lakes) also scored for the Wildcats.

Northwestern trailed 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3 before scoring the game's final four goals to win. Albrecht's second goal of the second half tied it at 4-4 with 22:06 remaining in the game. Josephs then bounced the ball off the ground and past Dartmouth goalie Devon Wills for the winning score with 20:27 left. Josephs added two more late goals to put the game out of reach.

Northwestern, which also set a season low for goals in a half after hitting the post five times in the first half, trailed 3-2 at halftime. But Albrecht tied it at 3-3 early in the second half, and the teams traded goals before Northwestern's scoring barrage.

"Although it wasn't our best offensive day, it was our defense that helped us win the national title this weekend," said NU coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. "I'm thrilled for our girls."

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BOSTON, Mass. - So close. Bidding for the first NCAA women's championship in school history and just Dartmouth's fifth NCAA title of any kind, the Big Green women's lacrosse team carried a 4-3 lead into the final 23 minutes of yesterday's game against defending champion Northwestern only to drop a hard-fought 7-4 decision.

Dartmouth, which was making its first-ever NCAA championship appearance, saw the season end with a 14-6 record. Northwestern improved to 20-1 by scoring the day's last four goals in front of a tournament record crowd of 5,684 at Boston University's Nickerson Field.

"I'm just so proud of this team," an emotional Dartmouth coach Amy Patton said after the contest. "Because in all the years I've coached this team had to battle harder than any team I've seen at Dartmouth. ... As we walked off that field the thing you saw is those kids gave it their best effort. It wasn't good enough but they fought to the bitter end. I mean, we were in 'chase' the last 15 minutes of that game and our kids were pretty darn tired still from (Friday's semifinal win over Notre Dame). I think that shows what these kids are made out of. They are a tough team. A gritty team. Today wasn't our best day but it was the best effort we could give."

Kristen Barry, Casey Hazel, Jen Pittman, and Sarah Szefi scored for Dartmouth, which held Northwestern to a season-low two first-half goals in a stout defensive effort but had trouble shaking free at the other end of the field.

"The glaring thing that stands out to me is we took 10 shots," said Patton. "You can't win a national championship only taking 10 shots. To me, if there's anything that stood out to hurt us, it was our turnovers at critical times. I think our defense was stellar. It was the best defense I've seen all year."

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2006-05-28



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