Dec. 3, 2008

Courtesy of West Chester Athletics

HOUSTON, Texas – Four years of frustration and watching somebody else take home the gold trophy are over for West Chester’s women’s lacrosse team.

For the second time in the last seven years, West Chester has claimed the NCAA Division II Women’s Lacrosse championship with a convincing 13-12 victory over C.W. Post at Memorial Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Golden Rams (20-1) ended four straight years of a “second-best” title with their first win over the Pioneers (17-2) in the NCAA Tournament. West Chester set a new school record for wins in a single season in the process.

For senior Steph Kienle, it was especially pleasing to end her illustrious career in such a fitting manner. The WCU graduate posted a hat trick and one assist, finishing the 2008 season with an NCAA-record 143 points, breaking her own single-season record set a year ago.

C.W. Post held West Chester scoreless over the final 22 minutes of the contest after the Rams had taken a 13-9 advantage. However, the Pioneers could get just three more shots past goalkeeper Mary Beth Green, the last with two seconds remaining in the game, as their comeback bid fell short.

The first half was a struggle for control most of the 20 minutes as six lead changes highlighted a tightly contested match. Jackie Baker scored all four of her goals in the first half to help stake the Golden Rams to a 10-8 lead at the break. She finished with five points.

Freshman Claire Grimwood saved her grandest performance for the national television audience watching on CBS College Television’s live broadcast. She scored three goals and posted a game-high seven points in the win.

West Chester finishes the 2008 campaign with an NCAA record 424 goals, but were shutout over the final 22 minutes of the game as C.W. Post mounted a furious comeback.

Brianne Jackolski scored with 11 minutes left to draw the Pioneers within three, 13-10. Taryn Crimi then scored at the 3:28 mark, followed by Mallory Poole with just two ticks left on the clock.

After the ensuing faceoff, it was time to celebrate for one of the most successful Division II women’s lacrosse programs in the country since the turn of the century. West Chester has reached the national championship game in each of the last five years and seven years overall since 2001.

The Golden Rams last won the national title in 2002 with a win over Stonehill. For head coach Ginny Martino, it is her second national championship at West Chester.

Green made nine saves in the win. Her counterpart, Lauren Scipione made 10.

Katie Hogan led C.W. Post in scoring with three goals and one assist.