May 22, 2005
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
Regardless of what happens in today's NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship final, Northwestern has left an indelible -- and long-lasting -- impression on the sport and where it is headed.
The Wildcats (20-0), of course, will attempt to punctuate their improbable tale with a national championship this afternoon against defending NCAA champion Virginia (17-4). In doing so, NU is looking to join an extremely exclusive club of crownholders -- only the Cavaliers, Maryland and Princeton have been the champion since 1991.
(1) Northwestern vs. (6) Virginia
NCAA Championship Final
Sunday, May 22 * 2:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. Central)
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Annapolis, Md.)
TV: College Sports Television (610 on DirecTV)
Radio: WNUR (89.3 FM)
Virginia, of course, was the last team to beat the Wildcats, handling them 15-11 a year ago in an NCAA quarterfinal matchup in Charlottesville. The Wahoos opened this season with the No. 1 ranking, but stumbled a few times and ended up as the sixth seed in this year's tournament where they have beaten Johns Hopkins, Boston University and, on Friday, Duke (a team they lost to twice during the regular season).
The UVA leader is Amy Appelt, who won the 2004 Tewaaraton Trophy as the nation's outstanding player and is a finalist for the award again this year with a team-leading 88 points. However, she is not the team's leading goalscorer in 2005; that distinction belongs to Tyler Leachman, who entered the weekend with 60 goals. Cary Chasney, who missed last year with a knee injury, had 39 goals entering the semis, while Kate Breslin had 34.
Northwestern will counter with its own powerful punch, which has been slowed the last two games but figures to gear up again with the weather calling for perfect conditions. Lindsey Munday broke the school's single-season scoring record during Friday night's semifinal win over Dartmouth and enters Sunday's title game with 103 points. Kristen Kjellman, like Appelt one of five finalists for this year's Tewaaraton, has 86 points including a team-high 54 goals. Aly Josephs has only one goal the last two games but 47 for the season, while Sarah Albrecht has heated up in the last two games (seven of NU's 16 goals) and has 34 tallies this season.
The Northwestern defense led the nation during the regular season in goals-against, and has actually dropped that number during the postseason, allowing just 4.3 goals per game in three NCAA Championship contests.