PHILADELPHIA -- Hilary Bowen helped top-seeded Northwestern
become the second team in NCAA history to win three consecutive
Division I women's lacrosse national championships, scoring five
goals in a 15-13 victory over second-seeded Virginia on Sunday
The Wildcats (21-1), perfect since a 9-8 loss in double-overtime
in the season opener at North Carolina, joined Maryland as the only
schools to win at least three straight titles. Maryland won seven
championships in a row from 1995-01.
"We are just so excited," Northwestern coach Kelly Amonte
Hiller said. "This is something that we've wanted all year long.
This senior class has wanted it more than ever."
Katrina Dowd scored three goals, and Meredith Frank and Aly
Josephs added two goals each for Northwestern, which improved to
62-2 over the last three seasons.
"The upperclassmen gave me the confidence to do it," said
Dowd, a freshman who had scored just 14 goals all season. "They
said, 'Dont be scared. Dont be shy.' I just shot the ball at goal
and put it away."
Unlike their easy 12-2 semifinal win over Pennsylvania, the
Wildcats had to hold off the surging Cavaliers (19-4).
Northwestern built an 11-5 lead in the first half and saw it
dwindle from there. Virginia got within 14-13 with 10:21 remaining
on Megan OMalley's third goal of the game. Dowd responded more than
8 minutes later to put the game away for the Wildcats, who won
their 12th consecutive NCAA tournament game.
"I kind of had a feeling today was going to be hard-fought,"
Hiller said. "When you've been here before, people are gunning
Ashley McCulloch, Kaitlin Duff and Megan Havrilla had two goals
apiece for the Cavaliers, who lost to Northwestern, 13-10, in the
2005 title game.
"It's been a great experience," Havrilla said.
Virginia overcame a nine-goal deficit in its 14-13 semifinal win
over Duke, the largest comeback in the NCAA championship history.
The Cavaliers' 19 victories tied a school record, originally set in
2004 when they won the national championship.
"For this year's team, I cannot be more proud," Virginia coach
Julie Myers said. "The character on this team is amazing."