Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/27/12
From Press Release and Staff Report
No. 4 Syracuse goes for its first national title when it meets defending champion and second-ranked Northwestern in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship final tonight at 8 p.m. at Stony Brook, N.Y. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.
The Orange (19-3) is in the title game for the first time, while the Wildcats (20-2) have won six championships in the last seven seasons.
Syracuse features junior attack Michelle Tumolo (Clearview Regional), sophomore midfielder Amy Cross (Upper Dublin), sophomore defender Kasey Mock (Pottstown) and senior midfielder Heather Wentz (Unionville).
Tumolo had four goals and three assists in Friday’s 14-13 double overtime win over Florida in the semifinals. Mock, off the bench, contributed a draw control, a groundball and a caused turnover and Cross had a groundball. Wentz did not play, but was honored as the the recipient of the Elite 89 award for the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Championship.
Wentz, a native of West Chester, Pa., is majoring in newspaper and carries a 3.697 grade-point average. Wentz was presented with the award during the Women’s Lacrosse Championship banquet on Thursday.
The Elite 89, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships.
Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.
ORANGE MAKING HISTORY
Syracuse has advanced to the national championship game for the first time in school. No Orange women’s team has ever won a national title. SU is making its third appearance in the Final Four in the last five years. The Orange lost in the semifinals in 2008 and 2010.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
The Orange came back from a seven-goal deficit to defeat No. 1 Florida in the national semifinals on Thursday. Senior Sarah Holden scored on a free position with 30 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score at 13-13 and force overtime. She then recorded the game-winner 58 seconds into the second overtime to send SU to the national championship game.
Northwestern defeated Maryland, 9-7, in the second semifinal on Thursday. Taylor Thornton and Jessica Russo had two goals apiece, while Shannon Smith had four assists to lead the Wildcats.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Northwestern enters the championship game with a record of 20-2. Both of the Wildcats’ losses this season were to Florida.
Shannon Smith is Northwestern’s leading scorer with 90 points. She leads the way with 64 goals and 26 assists. Brianne LoManto is the Wildcats’ starting goalkeeper. She came into the Final Four with a 7.23 goals-against average and a .460 save percentage.
Kelly Amonte Hiller is in her 11th season at Northwestern. She has guided the Wildcats to a record of 185-11 and six national championships in the last seven years.
Northwestern leads the series with Syracuse, 9-1. The teams met earlier this season in the Carrier Dome. The Orange rallied from a three-goal deficit and junior Michelle Tumolo’s goal with 51 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 9-9. Northwestern tallied two goals in overtime to post the 11-9 victory. It was the Wildcats’ ninth consecutive win against Syracuse.