STONY BROOK, N.Y. (AP) - No. 4/4 Syracuse's historical season came to an end with an 8-6 loss to No. 2/2 Northwestern in the title game of the 2012 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship. The Orange, which were playing in the title game for the first time in school history, finishes the year with a record of 19-4.
Taylor Thornton scored the winning goal with 9:55 left and Northwestern won its seventh NCAA women's lacrosse championship in eight years. Shannon Smith scored twice and had two assists for Northwestern (21-2). Smith won her second straight Most Outstanding Player award after winning her third championship. The Long Island native finished her standout career with 58 points in the NCAA tournament, second on the career list.
Erin Fitzgerald also scored twice for the Wildcats, who rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits in the first half.
Katie Webster and Amy Cross scored Syracuse's first two goals in the opening 3 1/2 minutes. Sarah Holden, Kailah Kempney, Alyssa Murray and Michelle Tumolo also scored for the Orange (19-4), appearing in their first championship game.
''Not the way we wanted to end our season,'' Syracuse coach Gary Gait said. ''They did what they needed to do to be successful. They maintained possyession most of the second half and I think that was a big difference.''
The Wildcats overcame early deficits of 2-0 and 4-2 by scoring four straight goals in the final 8:45 of the first half and the first 10:56 of the second. Smith scored twice in that span, and set up Bocklet's tying goal.
Syracuse came back after losing nine straight draw controls and ended a 21-minute scoreless stretch when Murray scored with 18:19 remaining. A little over 7 minutes later, Tumolo cleared it out of her own end and scored on a wraparound.
Murray and Tumolo combined for six goals in Syracuse's double-overtime victory against Florida on Friday.
''As badly as we wanted to win for our seniors, we have a lot of potential,'' Murray said. ''This isn't the last you'll see of us.''
Three members of the Orange were named to the all-tournament team, including Holden, Tumolo and junior Becca Block. 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. 1/1 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 (8-0) for the second time in school history.