May 22, 2009

Dowd's Coming of Age Continues in Towson

by Clare Lochary | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | NCAA Semifinals Blog

Northwestern's Katrina Dowd makes a move on the crease Friday during Northwestern's 13-12, double-overtime win over Penn in the NCAA Division I semifinals.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

TOWSON, Md. -- Katrina Dowd broke records and hearts Friday at the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse semifinals.

Dowd, a junior attacker, scored four goals, including an unbelievable no-look shot at the end of the first overtime, to help Northwestern to a 13-12 double overtime victory over archrival Penn and a fifth straight national championship berth. Dowd's dazzler gave her 18 goals in this year's NCAA tournament, edging teammate Hilary Bowen's NCAA record of 17 tournament goals set just last season.

"If I'd gotten the scoring record, and didn't win that game, it would have meant nothing," Dowd said. "Really, all I wanted was to win the game, and Meredith Frank did that for us."

Frank (1g, 1a) did get the game-winner in sudden death, but it was Dowd's equalizer that set the crowd abuzz. In the last 10 seconds of the first three-minute overtime period with Northwestern down 12-11, Dowd took a last-chance shot that was saved by Quaker goalkeeper Emily Szelest. But Szelest couldn't contain the rebound and it dribbled to Frank, who tipped it to Dowd near the left corner of the arc.

In a crowd of people, Dowd took a dive toward the ball with precious seconds ticking away. From her knees, she whipped the ball over her shoulder into the high right corner of the goal to tie the game at 12-12 with one second left on the clock.

Officials reviewed the goal to be sure that it went in before time expired, and concluded it did. Neither team scored in the second three-minute overtime period, setting up a sudden-death situation and Frank's game-winner at 1:31 in the second overtime.

"I was just there and I dove on it and kinda put it in. It was kinda like a hockey goal to me," said Dowd. "I knew there was no time, and I knew I just had to one-time it in -- give it a chance."

Dowd's modesty belies the impressive figure she cuts on the field, with a thick white headband worn low on her forehead and fierce go-to-go moves. Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller has learned to expect the unexpected from Dowd, who likes to practice Hail Mary shots.

"Katrina has a way of having magical shots like that all the time, even in practice. She just has an incredible stick and I think she just didn't give up on it," said Amonte Hiller. "It was a great, great, great opportunity for us."

Dowd's third goal of the night, a businesslike unassisted tally at 14:07, also gave the Wildcats their 381st goal of the season, breaking another record set in 2008 by the Syracuse Orange. The junior was a steady contributor during the season for the Wildcats, but broke out late after senior Hilary Bowen went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament on April 4, including a pair of seven-goal performances in Northwestern's first two tournament wins over UMass and Princeton.

While her 2009 performance has been record-setting, Dowd is no stranger to NCAA postseason heroics. As a freshman in the 2007 final, she broke out with a hat trick, including a key insurance goal, in Northwestern's 15-13 win over Virginia. Dowd had just 14 goals as a freshman; as a junior she's the team's top goal scorer with 71 goals this season.

And one more game to play.


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