By: LJ HarrellThe Fifth time was the charm for the West Chester University Lady Rams (20-1) lacrosse team as they were able to defeat CW Post 13-12 for their first National Championship since 2002.
The win broke a streak of four consecutive championship game losses for the Lady Rams, including a 17-9 loss at the hands of CW Post last year.
After losing their first game of the season to Limestone College, the Lady Rams reeled off 20 straight victories to claim the championship.
Senior Stephanie Kienle, who has been awarded numerous awards throughout her illustrious career at West Chester, finally won that illusive championship. After scoring three goals and recording one assist in the championship game, Kienle finished the season with an NCAA-record 143 points, which broke her own record which she set one year ago.
The first half was a back and forth affair between the two teams as there were six lead changes before halftime. West Chester led 10-8 at the half. Junior Jackie Baker recorded all four of her goals in the first half, a game after scoring eight goals against Limestone in the National Semifinals.
West Chester continued their strong play in the second half, but CW Post was able to hold the Lady Rams scoreless for the final 22 minutes of the game. Holding a 13-9 lead, West Chester was not able to score again as the Post defense began stifle the West Chester offense. But that was not enough for CW Post as they were not able to complete the comeback to secure the second consecutive national championship.
Even though they were shutout for the final 22 minutes of the game, West Chester finished with an NCAA-record 424 goals this season.
Freshman Claire Grimwood ended her first campaign with the Lady Rams in impressive fashion finishing with three goals and a game-high seven points.
Goalie Mary Beth Green made big save after big save to help West Chester secure her first National Championship. This is head coach Ginny Martino’s second National Championship as the West Chester head coach.
Since 2001, West Chester has appeared in seven National Championship games and has won two. The most successful D-II women’s lacrosse in the country this century has a lot to look forward to in the future as Kienle in the only senior that will be leaving the nest. With a lot of talent returning, the Lady Rams could find themselves in the National Championship yet again next year.