Forman: Towson takes, 2009 Cats make greatness

Matt Forman

Towson, Md. –

I am witness to greatness.

No, not LeBron James’ game-winning shot in game two of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night.

I am a witness to Northwestern’s lacrosse greatness.

As coach Kelly Amonte Hiller crowded in the elevator that took her from the field level to the press box at Johnny Unitas stadium on Friday night, she turned to Morgan Lathrop, Meredith Frank and Katrina Dowd, took a deep breath and summarized her team’s 13-12 double-overtime win.

“It was definitely a thriller,” she told them. “I’m sure the fans got their money’s worth.”

Amonte Hiller couldn’t have been more dead on. She was a witness.

Even though Pennsylvania coach Karin Brower was on the wrong side of the result, she agreed; she was a witness.

“The crowd wants to see the best four teams in the country when they come to the semifinals,” Brower said. “Tonight was the type of game you’d want to have in the NCAA championships.”

And even if the close call wasn’t exactly what NU fans wanted to see, they have to admit it was exciting. Really, it couldn’t get much better. An NCAA women’s lacrosse record 7,549 people witnessed a game that will go down in history as an instant classic.

What a game. What emotions. What a day for lacrosse.

The Wildcats blew a four-goal lead in the final seven minutes of regulation to force overtime. They needed a goal with two-tenths of a second left in the first overtime session to tie the game. Then, they needed a game-winning goal in double overtime.

It was heart-stopping and scintillating at the same time. It was the definition of an emotional roller coaster ride.

“It sure was an exciting game,” Lathrop, the senior goalie said. “I’m sure it’s one of the most exciting games I’ve ever played in.”

I am a witness to Dowd’s evolution from role player to dynamic offensive threat. After not starting three games earlier this year, Dowd scored four goals, including a no-look, over-the-shoulder, from-the-knees shot to tie the game, en route to setting the NCAA tournament record for goals with 22.

I am a witness to Frank’s determination to put the game on ice in the final minutes. After scoring 22 goals in the first 20 games of the season, Frank scored a hat trick, including the game-winner on a bull-rush, spin-move ripper.

I am a witness to Amonte Hiller showing that same confidence in her team no matter the situation. Ahead by four goals or down by one goal, Amonte Hiller knew her team would pull it off.

I am a witness to NU’s ever-changing definition of dynasty – constantly reaching new heights, one game at a time.

That’s why I knew Friday’s thriller was an indication. I knew I was going to be a witness to a fifth straight national title on Sunday night.

Deputy Sports Editor Matt Forman is a Medill sophomore. He can be reached at [email protected]