By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/21/09
After so many near misses, the West Chester women’s team finally made its way back to the top in 2008.
The Golden Rams, who had lost in the Division II championship game four straight years, edged C.W. Post, 13-12, to claim its second national title. Jackie Baker (Penncrest) tallied four goals and Stephanie Kienle (Henderson) and Claire Grimwood scored three goals each as the Rams won their 20th straight game and avenged a 15-7 loss to C.W. Post in the 2007 finals.
Playing on a large stage at Houston, Texas, on CBS College Television’s live broadcast, the Rams started strong and made enough clutch plays at the end to hang on. Kienle, the team’s lone senior, finished her brilliant career with an NCAA-record 143 points, breaking her own single-season record set the previous year.
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 (Henderson who had nine saves.
Freshman Grimwood posted a game-high seven points in the win.
West Chester coach Ginny Martino said the championship was the result of much growth by the team, which had suffered much disappointment in the past few championship game defeats.
“Basically, we learned from our mistakes,” she said. “Especially once we got back into the finals. We looked at why we fell short over the past few seasons and made adjustments to ensure our competitiveness.
“Our players never gave up hope and stayed determined to change our history. They weren’t going to walk away from that game again empty handed. They fought hard and didn’t let anything distract them along the way. They truly deserve a lot of credit for staying poised and in control.”
Was winning the title vindication for the Rams?
“Absolutely!” Martino said. “We felt like we were winning it not only for ourselves but for all those players who graduated our program falling one game short of their dreams. That last win was for everyone who ever wore the Golden Ram uniform.
“It certainly is a different feeling going into this season. We are all so much more confident of each other and ourselves.”
In the NCAA semifinals, West Chester avenged its lone loss of the season by downing Limestone, 17-9 as Baker scored eight goals and added two assists. West Chester trailed, 5-3, with 16 minutes left in the first half when the Rams’ top-ranked offense finally kicked into high gear, going on a 9-0 run that carried over into the second half.
Once again, the Rams breezed through the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and claimed their fifth straight title by handling Lock Haven, 17-8. Baker (Penncrest) amd Courtney Whiting (Downingtown East) scored four goals apiece while Grimwood and Kienle (Henderson) added three each. The successful season led to many post-season awards.
Martino was named the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) and FieldTurf Division II Coach of the Year. Kienle was named IWLCA Attacker of the Year and sophomore Katy Crouse (Boyertown) was named Defender of the Year.
Kienle, Baker and Crouse also were named first-team All-Americans while Green and Whiting Were second-team picks. Kienle, also named ECAC Division II Player of the Year, also led the nation in assists (78). She finished with 389 points in her four-year career, smashing the NCAA all-time scoring mark. Crouse also was named Defender of the Year by womenlacrosse.com. She was joined by Kienle and Baker on the first team and green made the second team.
West Chester also dominated the All-PSAC squad, as Kienle, Baker, Crouse, Green and Gina DiDomenicis made the first team while Whiting and Lauren Tatios (West Chester East) earned second-team honors.
Baker finished with a remarkable 89 goals and 37 assists for 126 points while Nicole Haines (Great Valley) had 48 goals, Whiting had 47 and Grimwood added 46. Kimberlee Hachen (North Penn) and Chrissy Stokes (Plymouth Whitemarsh) also played key roles on defense while Shannon Hayes (45 points), Gabrielle Stitz (40 points, Hatboro-Horsham), and Jen Forney (19 goals) also made key contributions.
Tags: West Chester