Congratulations to Northwestern’s women’s lacrosse team, who beat Syracuse tonight 8-6 to win their seventh NCAA championship in eight years!
The No. 2 Wildcats were down to the No. 4 Orange early and though they never trailed by more than two, NU struggled with turnovers. The Cats took the lead late in the first half, though, on a goal by Shannon Smith, and went into the locker room on top 5-4. Less than a minute into the second half, they went up 6-4 after another goal from Smith.
‘Cuse refused to lay down, though, and Alyssa Murray scored a minute later to cut the lead to one. The Orange tied it up about two third of the way through the half, but Northwestern’s Alyssa Thornton scored with about 10 minutes remaining in the game and Erin Fitzgerald found the back of the net with just under six minutes left to give the Wildcats a little insurance.
The Orange played hard until the end, but weren’t able to score again. With the win, Northwestern’s overall record improves to 21-2, while Syracuse’s drops to 19-4. The seven NCAA championships won by the Cats rank second all-time behind only the 10 won by Maryland between 1986 and 2010. Smith, a senior, set a school record with 254 goals in her career and is second all-time in NCAA history with 58 points scored in NCAA Tournament play.
Fun fact, per Northwestern’s athletics website: Nine of NU’s 10 points on the evening (eight goals, two assists) were recorded by Long Island natives playing close to home (the game was in Stony Brook), one year after all eight NU goals in the 2011 championship game were scored by Long Islanders.
“To end my career back where it started back on Long Island, not a lot of people get to do that, and finally it really hit me, that to end here is amazing,” Smith said. “The journey that we were on with this team since our first meeting in September, we had a lot of ups and downs but we really pulled it together.”