Northwestern claims national title
Smith notches four goals, including critical game winner
STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Northwestern won its sixth women's lacrosse championship in seven years Sunday, getting four goals from Shannon Smith, including the game-winner with 4:36 remaining, in an 8-7 victory against top-ranked Maryland.
"This was a culmination of a lot of hard work, a lot of evaluating of ourselves, from our lowest moment, to our loss to Johns Hopkins and at Florida midseason to just gutting it out and winning games from small amounts all season," head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. "It prepared us for this moment and our girls could not have played more focused or more poised."
Freshman Kara Mupo added two goals for the second-ranked Wildcats, who avenged last year's 13-11 loss to Maryland and overcame an early three-goal deficit.
Erin Fitzgerald and Jessica Russo also scored for the Wildcats (21-2), who advanced to the championship with an 11-10 victory against North Carolina on Friday.
Smith scored two goals that brought Northwestern within one goal during the first half, another 10 minutes into the second half that put the Wildcats up 6-5 and her fourth with just over 4 1/2 minutes left for a two-goal margin.
Katie Schwarzmann scored with 85 seconds remaining for the Terrapins (21-2), who were trying to repeat for the first time since winning a record seven straight championships from 1995-2001.
Freshman Beth Glaros scored four goals in the first half, including three in a 94-second span for Maryland, which overcame a six-goal deficit in last year's championship victory.
Northwestern trailed for 25 minutes in the first half, but got a late goal from Russo that tied the game 5-all. After Smith went around Maryland defender Katie Gallagher for her third goal and the Wildcats' first lead since five minutes into the game, Kristy Black tied it 26 seconds later.
Black was the last Terrapin to beat Northwestern goaltender Brianne LoManto until the final two minutes.
Smith took home MVP honors thanks to her 18 goals in four tournament games, second all-time for a single tournament behind only Katrina Dowd's 22 in 2009. Earning All-Tournament team honors for the Wildcats were Erin Fitzgerald, Taylor Thornton, Colleen Magarity and Brianne LoManto.