NCAA women's semifinals Northwestern 16, Syracuse 8

Northwestern moves on

Wildcats stump Syracuse offense

Rowan scoreless

May 24, 2008|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun reporter

The Syracuse women's lacrosse team went into last night's NCAA Division I semifinal with the hottest offense in the nation, but three-time defending champion Northwestern cooled the Orange down.

Wildcats defender Maggie Bremer held the nation's leading scorer, Katie Rowan, without a point, and Bremer's teammates scored the first nine goals of the second half to break open a close game and win, 16-8, at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

The top-seeded Wildcats (20-1) will meet second seed Pennsylvania for the title tomorrow at 7 p.m. The Quakers beat Duke, 9-8, in overtime.

Only Maryland, which won seven straight championships between 1995 and 2002, owns more consecutive titles than the Wildcats already have.

Northwestern started running away with a game that was tied five times in the first half when Hilary Bowen scored twice in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the second half.

"They were just playing us so aggressively," Bowen said, "and so I thought we have nothing to lose, go out there and try to make something happen. I did what I could but ... everyone stepped up. It was definitely a team effort."

Bowen's goals ignited a nine-goal run, during which Northwestern barely allowed fifth seed Syracuse possession for the first 15 minutes.

The Wildcats won five of the first six draws and scored five unassisted goals before Hannah Nielsen fed Bowen for a 13-6 lead with 18:37 left. After that, Casey Donohoe scored twice, and Danielle Spencer added another goal.

Bowen scored four of her six goals - just one off the tournament record - in the run as Northwestern held Syracuse scoreless for 29:36 until Halley Quillinan made it 16-7 with 2:18 to go.

Rowan, the Orange's all-time leading scorer, came into last night's game with 73 goals and 69 assists this season, but she managed just two shots the entire game against Bremer and company, who also shut her down the first time they played.

"She's very athletic, and she stayed with me," Rowan said. "I had my opportunities, but ... she's a great defender."

One of the main reasons Rowan couldn't get going in the second half was that Syracuse, which went into the semifinal averaging 18.15 goals, couldn't get the ball.

"It was easy to fall apart when we didn't have the ball," Syracuse coach Gary Gait said.

Northwestern coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, who played for Gait when he was an assistant coach at Maryland, urged her players to be more aggressive in the second half, and the advice paid off.

"I just said we wanted to go out and play fearless in the second half and not be afraid to take chances and go hard to net. ... We felt like we wanted to turn it up a notch in the second half," said Amonte Hiller, who built the Wildcats into national champions in just their fourth season as a varsity program.

Syracuse 6 2 - 8

Northwestern 7 9 - 16

Goals: S-Mosenson 3, Brady 2, Dove, Quillinan, Thomas; N-Bowen 6, Donohoe 3, Frank 3, Spencer 3, Dowd. Assists: S-Dove 3, Quillinan 2, Brady; N-Nielsen 4, Donohoe. Saves: S-Hogan 6; N-Lathrop 2.

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