Northwestern 13, Virginia 10

May 22, 2005

Annapolis, Md. Kristen Kjellman scored a team-high five goals to lead Northwestern to a 13-10 victory over Virginia Sunday in the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse National Championship at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.

The top-seeded Wildcats, who claimed their first ever national championship in the sport, denied the sixth-seeded Cavaliers a second-consecutive national championship.Virginia topped Princeton, 10-4, back on May 23 of last season to claim the national title.

The national title for Northwestern was the school's first in any sport since fencing captured the championship in 1941.

"Obviously, we are very excited," Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte Hillier said. "I have no words for this team. They are such an amazing group of girls and for me it's so special to be a part of this team."

Sarah Albrecht added three goals for the Wildcats (21-0), whose 21 victories are tied for the second most in NCAA history for a single season. Northwestern goalie Ashley Gersuk made eight saves on 23 shots faced to earn the win. Kjellman was named the MVP of the NCAA tournament for her efforts.

The 21-straight wins also set a school-record for consecutive victories. Northwestern's last loss came on May 16, 2004, at the hands of the Cavaliers in last year's NCAA quaterfinals.

"I think we all knew we could do it," Kjellman said. We were so confident this year going into every game and especially this tournament. I think that carried us this year and it will in the future."

Cary Chasney led Virginia (17-5) with six goals, which tied for the most goals scored in a championship game in NCAA history. Georgetown's Erin Elbe also turned the trick back in the 2001 championship. Ginger Miles started in goal for the Cavaliers, but was pulled in favor of Kendall McBrearty with a little under 24 minutes remaining in the game. Both goalies totaled only one save each.

"We're still excited about our season, but unfortunately today, we didn't play a complete game," Virginia head coach Julie Myers said.

The Cavaliers held a 7-6 advantage with 3:17 remaining in the first half, but Northwestern responded with a pair of goals to go up 8-7 at halftime. Albrecht tied it at 3:03 and Kristen Boege added one with :59 to put the Wildcats ahead.

Virginia appeared to tie the game at the buzzer right before halftime, but Tyler Leachman's goal was waved off as the officials said it came after the first half ended.

The Wildcats opened the second half with three-straight goals in the first 12 minutes including two from Albrecht -- to open up an 11-7 advantage and never looked back after that.

QUOTES

Northwestern

Kelly Amonte Hillier
Head Coach
Opening Statement...
"Obviously, we are very excited. I have no words for this team. They are such an amazing group of girls and for me it's so special to be a part of this team. The reason why we are here today is because these kids are such good people and they are so coachable. They have worked so hard to get here and earn this honor.

Kristen Kjellman
Sophomore Midfield
On the team believing it could win the national championship...
"I think we all knew we could do it. We were so confident this year going into every game and especially this tournament. We had faith in all of our teammates. I think that carried us this year and it will in the future."

Ashley Koester
Senior Midfield
On the team believing it could win the national championship...
"To go along with that, we trust our coaches so much and we believe in them and they believe in us. We believe in each other and trust in each other. In the beginning there were a lot of doubters, but to be honest with you, we didn't listen to those people and just trusted in each other as teammates. We believed that we could make it this far and win the national championship."

Ashley Gersuk
Senior Goalkeeper
On what Northwestern's national championship means for the sport of lacrosse in places other than just on the East coast...

"I think we were so lucky to come to the Midwest and help to bring lacrosse out there. It all started with Kelly. When you have a name like Kelly Amonte Hiller out there in the Midwest, it definitely brings interest to the school. I think we've been very fortunate to play together and win a championship. It definitely helps the sport grow in other places."

Virginia

Julie Myers
Head Coach
Opening Statement...
"What a difference a couple of days makes. Two nights ago we were standing here all excited for today's opportunity. We're still excited about our season, but unfortunately today we didn't play a complete game throughout the course of the entire 60 minutes. I credit Northwestern for coming out tough and playing physically."

On Northwestern's effort on going after ground balls...
"I think they did a great job of going after ground balls and knocking them loose from us. We we're in position at times, but their girls came over and were able to get some. That was a big difference in today's game."

On Northwestern's style of play...
"I think they are a complete team. They're very athletic and are in great shape. They can possess a ball, which we saw, for about 15 minutes in the second half. We didn't have enough pressure on them and they were able to pass it inside and get some good looks at the net. We were prepared for it, but we just didn't execute defensively."

Cary Chasney
Senior Midfield
On Northwestern's defensive changes in the game...
"I don't think they were doing anything different. I think it was more a matter of our execution. Our transition was there, but we didn't take as many chances as we liked. We didn't finish some of our chances when we had them."

Amy Appelt
Senior Attack
On having to deal with the disallowed goal right before halftime...
"Obviously, that's tough to deal with knowing that we could have tied the game. We just needed to overlook that and focus and get ready for the second half. Northwestern, though, came out and scored a couple of early goals and it set us back further."

ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM

Most Valuable Player: Kristen Kjellman, Northwestern
Sarah Albrecht, Northwestern
Lindsey Munday, Northwestern
Courtney Koester, Northwestern
Ashley Koester, Northwestern
Amy Appelt, Virginia
Cary Chasney, Virginia
Nikki Lieb, Virginia
Kristen Waagbo, Duke
Leigh Jester, Duke
Erin Osborn, Dartmouth
Devon Wills, Dartmouth

GAME NOTES

-- Northwestern captures their first ever women's lacrosse championship and the school's first national title since 1941 (men's fencing); this was their first trip to the finals and their sixth NCAA tournament appearance.

-- Northwestern has now won a school-record 21 straight games; the streak is the fourth longest in NCAA women's lacrosse history; the 21 wins also ties Northwestern with three different Maryland squads (1997,1999, 2000) for the second most victories ever recorded in a single season.

-- Virginia midfielder Cary Chasney's six goals ties the all-time record for most goals in a championship game; Georgetown's Erin Elbe previously owned sole possession of the record, having registered six tallies in the 2001 Championship versus Maryland.

-- Northwestern's last loss came on May 16, 2004 at the hands of the Cavaliers in last year's NCAA quarterfinals (UVA 15 NU 11); Northwestern is now 2-5 all-time against Virginia.

-- The 15 combined goals (NU 8 UVA 7) during the first half of play ties the second highest total in NCAA women's championship history; the 2001 final saw both Maryland and Georgetown combine for a total of 15 scores, while the record of 17 goals came during the 2000 final between Maryland and Princeton.

-- The Cavaliers are only the third team this season that have scored in double figures against the Wildcats; both Notre Dame and Duke recorded 11 goals each earlier this season.

-- Virginia's attacker Amy Appelt, one goal and two assists, extended her record for most career goals in NCAA tournament history to 40.

-- The 4,634 fans in attendance on Sunday brought the combined total for the championship weekend to 7,852, making it the second largest combined attendance for a women's lacrosse tournament in NCAA history; the existing record of 9,023 was set during last year's championship weekend hosted by Princeton University.



-- Courtesy USNA