TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

May 27, 2007 — Northwestern vs. Virginia

The 26th NCAA National Championship will take place this evening at Franklin Field.

Here’s our take on the game:

Northwestern vs. Virginia

All-time series: Virginia leads 5-2.

Last Meetings: May 22, 2005 — Northwestern 13, Virginia 10 (NCAA Final); May 16, 2004 — Virginia 15, Northwestern 11 (NCAA quarterfinal);

When Northwestern Has The Ball: Kristen Kjellman, Hannan Nielsen, Hilary Bowen, and Meredith Frank form a formidable attack quartet, one which took control of Friday’s semifinal against Penn and wouldn’t let go, running out 12-2 winners. Virginia’s defense in front of goalie Kendall McBrearty will have to be at its very best.

When Virginia Has The Ball: The attack unit of Kate Breslin, Ashley McCullough, Blair Weymouth, Megan O’Malley, and Brittany Kalkstein is extremely strong, and, as shown in a 14-13 semifinal win over Duke, very streaky. The opposing Northwestern defense of Christy Finch, Annie Elliott, and Lindsay Finocchiaro play extremely well in front of goalie Morgan Lathrop.

The Skinny: Northwestern has won the last two NCAA championships by refining, not revolutionizing, previously-used tactics. The Wildcats play with blinding speed, excellent fundamental ball skills, and the willingness to take risks.

Virginia is in its fourth NCAA title game in the last five years. They will feel extremely lucky to be there given their historic 10-goal comeback in the final 19 minutes against ACC rival Duke.

The Judgment: Three years ago, people were ready to hand Princeton the national title until Cavaliers’ goalie Andrea Pfeiffer had the game of her life, withstanding 35 shot attempts and a heat cauldron at Princeton Stadium to beat the hosts 10-4.

If McBrearty has the game of her life, Virginia has a chance to win.

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