Josephs, N'western repeat

Northwestern 7 Dartmouth 4

Division I Women

May 29, 2006|By DAN HICKLING | DAN HICKLING,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BOSTON -- Repeat championship winners in NCAA women's lacrosse have been rare enough. But now Northwestern coach Kelly Amonte Hiller can lay claim to being part of two of them.

The former Maryland star, who played on two of the Terrapins' Division I titlists in the mid-1990s, led the Wildcats to their second straight championship yesterday by defeating Dartmouth, 7-4, before a record crowd of 5,684 at Boston University's Nickerson Field.

"It's so much harder as a coach," said Amonte Hiller, who has taken the Wildcats from club status to this perch in five seasons. "It's a great feeling to go back to back."

Junior attack Aly Josephs (Franklin) led all scorers in what played out as a defensive struggle, scoring four goals, including the last three of the contest.

"I try to take advantage of opportunities," said Josephs, who had two goals in last year's final.

Such was certainly the case on her second goal, which came at 9:33 of the second half and broke a 4-4 tie, and held up as the game-winner.

To call it a fluky goal might be charitable.

Stationed outside the arc, Josephs tried to force a pass into the middle. Instead, it caromed off of a defender's stick and bounced in past goalie Devon Wills.

"It was a bit of a loopy pass in the middle," Josephs said. "Not the best decision. We had some unfortunate posts in the first half, but this one went in our direction."

Said Wills: "That's definitely one I wish I had back."

Northwestern's plan to test the Green defense, ranked first in the nation, was clear from the start. The Wildcats held the ball for the initial 7:11 , and mustered three shots, but no goals.

"We wanted to go out and pressure them as much as we could," Amonte Hiller said. "We stayed in our high-pressure, double-everywhere defense the whole game."

In fact, the Wildcats held Dartmouth to 10 shots for the whole game, four in the second half.

"That's the glaring thing," said Dartmouth coach Amy Patton, who also played on the Maryland championship team of 1986. "You can't win a championship taking just 10 shots."

Still, it was the Green that held a slim 3-2 intermission lead.

Dartmouth scored first, when Kristen Barry cashed in a slick pass from Casey Hazel (Reisterstown, Maryvale Prep). Hazel also scored in the first half

Northwestern's task was made more difficult when leading scorer Kristen Kjellman limped off late in the first half after turning her ankle. Kjellman did return but was held without a point.

Her loss was made up for by Sarah Albrecht, who netted two goals in the opening 7:54.

Then Josephs got going in earnest, and took the rest of the Wildcats with her.

With the win, Northwestern joined Princeton (2002-03) and Maryland (1995-2001) as the only repeat winners in NCAA history.

"I think this one was harder," said Amonte Hiller, "which is unreal, because last year, we were underdogs all season. This year, we had a target on our back."

Dartmouth 3 1 - 4

Northwestern 2 5 - 7

Goals: D-Barry, Hazel, Pittman, Szefi; N-Josephs 4, Albrecht 2, Munday. Assists: D-Douthett, Zimmer; N-Albrecht, Frank. Saves: D-Wills 6; N-Lathrop 2. A: 5,684.

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