From press releases -- STONY BROOK, N.Y. – No. 4 Syracuse’s historical season came to an end with an 8-6 setback to No. 2 Northwestern in the 2012 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship final game. The Orange, which was playing in the title game for the first time in school history, finishes the year with a record of 19-4.
“It’s not the way we wanted to end our season,” said Syracuse head coach Gary Gait. “I’m proud of my team. They never gave up. They played all the way through. We learned a lot – the first time in the championship game. They were determined. They overcame a lot to get here. I’m just very proud of them and what they accomplished this year.”
The Orange took an early lead on back-to-back goals by sophomores Katie Webster (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Amy Cross (Oreland, Pa.). After Northwestern tallied its first goal of the game, senior Sarah Holden (Marcellus, N.Y.) converted a free position attempt for her fifth goal of the Final Four at the 15:41 mark. The Wildcats answered on Erin Fitzgerald’s goal, but a free position goal by freshman Kailah Kempney (Carthage, N.Y.) put Syracuse up by two with 10:15 remaining. Amanda Macaluso found the back of the net at the 8:45 mark, sparking Northwestern on a 3-0 scoring run to end the half as it took a 5-4 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Shannon Smith netted the first goal of the second half to give the Wildcats their largest lead of the game at 6-4 with 19:04 remaining. Sophomore Alyssa Murray (West Babylon, N.Y.) converted a free position attempt before junior Michelle Tumolo (Mullica Hill, N.J.) found the back of the net after coming from behind the left side of the goal to tie the score at 6-6 with 11:08 to play. Taylor Thornton broke the tie with her only goal of the game at the 9:55 mark, and Fitzgerald scored with 5:41 left to put the Wildcats’ back up by two with 5:41 on the clock.
The Orange won the ensuing draw, but junior Bridget Daley’s (Schenectady, N.Y.) shot went wide. Northwestern picked up the ground ball, but turned it over after a successful clear. Syracuse took the ball into its offensive zone, but infractions by both squads led to a throw, which was won by Northwestern. Syracuse was down two players following a pair of yellow cards, and the Wildcats ran the clock down to 38 seconds before turning it over, giving the Orange possession. Syracuse worked the ball into its offensive end, but couldn’t get a shot off as Northwestern won its second consecutive national championship and its seven in the last eight years.
The Wildcats outshot Syracuse 21-16, while the Orange had nine ground balls compared to seven for Northwestern. The Wildcats won 12-of-16 draw controls. Sophomore Alyssa Costantino (West Islip, N.Y.) made eight saves for Syracuse, while Brianne LoManto had four saves for Northwestern.
Three members of the Orange were named to the All-Tournament Team, including Holden, Tumolo and junior Becca Block (Stratham, N.H.). SU posted 52 goals in the NCAA Championship, which is the 10th-highest total in tournament history.
Syracuse won a school-record 15 consecutive games in 2012 on its way to a single-season school record 19 wins. The Orange defeated No. 1 Florida in the semifinals, marking SU’s first win against the top-ranked team in the nation in 16 tries. Syracuse won the BIG EAST regular-season title, going undefeated for the second time in school history.