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Smith, Northwestern face Syracuse in Sunday's lacrosse final

STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- On Friday, Shannon Smith helped defending NCAA Division I lacrosse champion Northwestern come back to beat Maryland and reach the final. On Sunday, the senior and her teammates face a newcomer in No. 4 Syracuse (19-3).

There is a reason Smith, a Tewaaraton Trophy winner and Long Island native, would see anything short of a title as a letdown. No. 2 Northwestern (20-3) has won six of the past seven lacrosse championships.

"Being my last year here and being at my hometown, it's pretty exciting to be able to play a national champ here on Long Island in front of your friends and family," Shannon said. "But I think for this team in general, we've come so far from the first day we met as a team back in September. I think, especially in the middle of the season after we lost to Florida, our team really looked deep down inside of ourselves, and every person individually really focused on things that they needed to work on and were working out of practice during the middle of the day or after or before practice and really focused on it and we really came together."

The final is at 8 p.m. ET (ESPNU/ESPN3) at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University.