Sure, championships are nice. But, when you earn your college's first title in more than 60 years in any sport, you become somewhat of a hero. On May 22, 2005, the Northwestern University women's lacrosse team beat the University of Virginia, 13 to 10, giving Northwestern their first national title since the 1941 men's fencing team. They also earned another distinction by becoming the first lacrosse team outside of the Eastern time zone to win an NCAA lacrosse title at any level.
Lindsey Munday scored a goal and three assists in the championship game. Munday, a 21-year-old from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, is one of the best lacrosse players in the country. She led the American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) in assists and her 5.1 points per game was second in the nation. She was a key part of Northwestern's 21-0 record last season.
Reflecting about the past season, the entire weekend of the championship run stands out in her mind. "Not just winning the national championship, but the whole experience at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium," Munday says. "We had a dinner with the final four teams. Hanging out with everyone, being able to see the other teams play and then playing in the final game-it was just unbelievable."
As a girl, opportunities to play lacrosse were rare, so she opted to play with boys teams for a couple of years. When she joined, she was one of only two girls on the team. "My mom was not too happy about it," she says.
After spending much of her formative years playing soccer, she decided to pick up lacrosse again in high school. A trip to a lacrosse camp in Massachusetts changed the direction of her athletic collegiate career. Kelly Amonte Hiller, head coach of the Northwestern women's lacrosse team, saw Munday at the camp and began recruiting her. After considering The College of New Jersey and Holy Cross, Munday eventually selected Northwestern.
Northwestern's academic reputation and the campus itself contributed to her decision. "Going to the campus on my official visit," she says, "I knew instantly that I wanted to go there." But it would be foolish to understate the presence of head coach Amonte Hiller. Munday saw an opportunity to learn under a legendary figure in the sport. "I'd heard of her, known of her, and knowing that I would be coached by one of the top lacrosse players in the world, that was a major factor," she says.
Her scholarship to play lacrosse at Northwestern has enabled her to concentrate on sports and her schoolwork. Right now, her scholarship covers "over half" of her tuition. She has been fortunate to have that amount increase over time. "[Coach Amonte Hiller] increased it for me as the years went on, when more money [became available]," she says. "I started well below [half tuition]."
Time management skills are crucial to balancing sports and academics. "I think with a sport, with time allotted for practice everyday, it almost makes you more organized. When you do have free time, you really need to sit down and get stuff done," she says.
This past spring, after winning the national title, the team received an invitation to the White House and met President Bush. "Going to the White House was amazing," says Munday. "I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and that we had to soak it up while we were there. They set us up for a photo with the President and he ended up talking to us for a couple of minutes. He just asked how school was and offered his congratulations. It was a surreal experience seeing the President two feet away."
Munday is excited to begin her senior year and finish her degree in communications. While she is considering going back to get her master's degree, her plans after graduation are still to be decided. "I guess I need to think about it pretty soon," she says. "My game plan for the fall is to figure that out."