Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/29/11
From Press Releases and Staff Reports
Helped by All-Tournament pick Colleen Magarity (Germantown Academy), Northwestern brought home its sixth NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship in the last seven years Sunday with a gut-wrenching 8-7 victory over top-seeded Maryland at Stony Brook, N.Y.
Magarity, a senior defender who had three groundballs and a draw control, was a key part of a unit that shut down the nation’s fourth-leading offense. Northwestern held Maryland to two second-half goals, while also coming back from an early 4-1 deficit thanks to four goals by tournament MVP Shannon Smith.
In a back-and-forth first half, Maryland scored four goals in a span of 1:34 but was held in check to the tune of only one goal in the remaining 28:26 of the first 30 minutes as the game went to halftime tied at five.
But unlike the 2010 title game matchup between these teams, NU overwhelmingly controlled the pace of the game in the second half, taking the lead for good at the 15:23 mark and controlling possession for the final quarter of the game.
“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,” said head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. “It prepared us for this moment and our girls could not have played more focused or more poised.”
Smith took home MVP honors thanks to her 18 goals in four games, second all-time for a single tournament behind only Katrina Dowd’s 22 in 2009. Earning All-Tournament team honors with Magarity for the Wildcats were Erin Fitzgerald, Taylor Thornton, and Brianne LoManto.
After the teams combined for four straight turnovers to open the game, Northwestern scored on its second shot of the afternoon when freshman Mupo streaked down the right side for a score, her 22nd of the year.
Maryland answered with a free position goal on its next possession and then was awarded three of the next four draw controls for violations on the draw by NU. It ended up being a rapid 4-0 Terrapin run as UMD needed just over 90 seconds to take a 4-1 lead.
NU gained possession and stemmed Maryland’s momentum with an Erin Fitzgerald 8-meter goal, then followed that with an Alyssa Leonard draw control win and a strike by Smith. But Maryland countered with two saves on NU free position shots and then scored on one of its own to make it 5-3 with 14 minutes left in the first half.
Smith netted her second at the 10:30 mark with a simple curl on the crease and a low-angle shot past Brittany Dipper, pulling the ‘Cats within one at 5-4. Northwestern continued to dictate possession over the next 10 minutes and worked for the last shot with under a minute remaining. Smith passed across the field to junior Jessica Russo, who charged into the fan and ripped a hard shot from distance to tie the score at five with just five ticks left before halftime.
The teams also were tied in shots (9-9) and turnovers (6-6) with the Wildcats holding a slim 6-5 edge in draw controls.
Freshman defender Kerri Harrington made her first career start in the game with Mollison Sarah Mollison, and did so by keeping the Terp without a shot in the first half. When Mollison came out of halftime with an open look, Brianne LoManto was there to make the save.
The Wildcats kept possession over the next 10 minutes before taking a 6-5 lead on an unassisted goal by Smith. NU’s advantage lasted less than a minute, however, as Maryland’s Kristy Black had the answer on the other end to break a 25-minute UMD scoring drought.
Northwestern seized a lead on a free position goal by Mupo, then turned to LoManto for two huge saves on the other end. LoManto denied Katie Schwarzmann on a one-on-one breakaway, then snared a free position shot by Laura Merrifield. After NU forced a turnover moments later, the Wildcats called timeout with 8:54 left still nursing a 7-6 lead.
Maryland finally turned the Wildcats over with two minutes to play but was denied on the Mollison fastbreak attempt by LoManto. The Terps recovered the ball and scored to make it 8-7, setting up a dramatic final 1:14. Maryland won the draw control but coughed up the ball at midfield under Northwestern’s pressure, allowing the Wildcats to run out the remaining 44 seconds.
Tags: Germantown Academy