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Sunday, May 25, 2008
Northwestern beats Penn for 4th straight lacrosse title

Associated Press

TOWSON, Md. -- Northwestern won its fourth consecutive women's lacrosse national championship Sunday, avenging its only loss of the season with a 10-6 victory over Penn.

Hilary Bowen led Northwestern (21-1) with three goals and tied a tournament record with 17 overall. Hannah Nielsen had three goals and three assist for the Wildcats.

Northwestern's string of NCAA titles is second only to Maryland, which won seven straight championships from 1995 to 2001.

Ali DeLuca led the Quakers (17-2) with two goals. It was the first time a Penn team in any sport appeared in an NCAA-sanctioned national championship game.

Northwestern's offense ranked third nationally with 16.2 goals per game, while Penn allowed just 6.1. In the teams' first meeting this season, defense prevailed, with Penn winning 11-7.

DeLuca gave Penn a 1-0 lead 1:08 into the game. Nielsen then took control for the Wildcats, scoring one goal and assisting on two others during a four-goal run. Northwestern led 5-2 at halftime.

Northwestern dictated the tempo by maintaining possession for long stretches. Midway through the first half, the Wildcats held the ball for almost 11 minutes straight.

The Quakers picked up the pressure in the second half, and a goal by Emma Spiro cut the lead to two with 25:25 left. Northwestern then scored three goals in a 2-minute span.