BOSTON -- Northwestern's Sarah Albrecht admittedly didn't play the best half of her career during the first 30 minutes of last night's NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament semifinal game at Boston University. But Albrecht more than made up for whatever mistakes she made in the first half by scoring the winning goal as the defending champion Wildcats edged the Blue Devils, 11-10, in double overtime.
Northwestern will face Dartmouth, which beat Notre Dame in last night's other semifinal, 14-8, for the national championship at noon tomorrow.
Albrecht, a native of nearby Braintree, scored with 37 seconds left in the first three-minute overtime to cap a game that had eight ties and seven lead changes.
"I was upset that I was turning the ball over too much [in the first half]," Albrecht said. "I think I was trying it to push it to holes that weren't there. But you just have to keep your composure and in overtime you have to make sure you keep calm. ... You have to just push it and make sure that you do the best you can."
Albrecht's was anything but a lucky score because she beat two defenders - one who laid a hard hit on her.
"I remember someone hit me in the goggles," Albrecht said. "Then, I just shot it where the goalie wasn't."
Fourth-seeded Northwestern (19-1) was led by scoring ace Kristen Kjellman with four goals. Aly Josephs (Franklin) scored twice while Lindsay Munday assisted on two scores.
Kjellman's counterpart, Katie Chrest (Maryvale), paced Duke (18-3) with three goals while Rachel Sanford scored two and Leigh Jester had three assists.
Not to be overlooked was the play of Northwestern's freshman goalie, Morgan Lathrop, who made 11 saves - none bigger than the one she made on Sanford early in the second overtime. Lathrop blocked the potential tying goal from point-blank range.
"I really don't remember," Lathrop said of how she made that save. "I was just hoping to get a stick on it. I was just trying to make contact and I didn't care if it looked pretty."
Earlier this season, Duke ended the Wildcats' 31-game winning streak April 7 with a 16-10 victory in Durham.
"We just didn't have it in the [previous] game," coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. "I think in that part of the season we were a little tired because we had traveled on four weekends in a row, and maybe we also got a little complacent."
DARTMOUTH 14, NOTRE DAME 8 -- Any doubts that the second semifinal was going to be easy for the Big Green were erased barely three minutes into the second half.
That's when Fighting Irish defender Kristin Hopson inadvertently knocked the ball into her own net to give Dartmouth an 8-3 lead. The play was ruled an own goal, and seventh-seeded Dartmouth (14-5) went on to rout sixth-seeded Notre Dame.
Junior attack Whitney Douthett paced an offense that completely outshined Notre Dame's by scoring four goals and assisting on two. Tewaaraton Trophy finalist Kristen Zimmer contributed three goals and three assists while Sarah Szefi added two goals and an assist.
Crysti Foote led Notre Dame (15-4) with three goals and two assists, and Caitlin McKinney scored three times.
The Fighting Irish entered the game with an average of 14.17 goals per game but managed only three goals in the first half, which ended with Dartmouth leading 6-3.
As much as anything, the Big Green's performance was a testament to a defense led by senior Andrea Smith (St. Mary's) that leads the nation in fewest goals allowed (6.72) and caused turnovers (12.89).
Northwestern 6 4 1 0 - 11
Duke 6 4 0 0 - 10
Goals: N-Kjellman 4, Josephs 2, Albrecht, Bowen, Frank, Glassanos, Boege; D-Chrest 3, Sanford 2, Jester, Cryer, Davis, Wagbo, Pastrana. Assists: N-Munday 2, Albrecht, Bowen, Kjellman; D-Jester 3, Del Monte, Sanford. Saves: N-Lathrop 10; D-Huether 4.
Dartmouth 6 8 - 14
Notre Dame 3 5 - 8
Goals: D-Douthett 4, Zimmer 3, Szefi 2, Barry, Hazel, Leibovitz; ND-Foote 3, McKinney 3, Ferguson 2. Assists: D-Zimmer 3, Douthett 2, Hazel 2, Szefi; ND-Foote 2, McKinney. Saves: D-Wills 4; ND-Dixon 6. A: 3,710.