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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #97: Kelly Amonte Hiller

I don't know much about women's collegiate lacrosse. What I do know is that in the relatively young history of the that sport (the list of national champions goes back to 1982), one of the major figures is a Massachusetts native from Hingham.

Kelly Amonte Hiller played her high school sports at Thayer Academy in Braintree before matriculating at the University of Maryland. There she won national titles in women's lacrosse her junior and senior seasons, in 1995 and 1996, the first two of legendary coach Cindy Timchal's seven straight championships. Amonte Hiller was a four-time All-American in lacrosse (earning All-American honors in soccer as well) and in 1996 was the ACC's female athlete of the year. In both 1995 and 1996 she was the women's college lacrosse player of the year. After graduating, she played for the USA women's national team, winning IFWLA elite world titles in 1997 and 2001. This is a talented woman.

Her coaching career is equally as impressive as her playing resume, if not more so. In 2002 Amonte Hiller took over as head coach of a Northwestern women's lacrosse program in its first year back as a varsity sport after a ten year hiatus at the club level. In just three years, she built a dynasty. In 2005 her WIldcats went 21-0 and won the first NCAA women's lacrosse title ever by a team not in the Eastern time zone. Over the next decade her team made the semifinals of the NCAA tournament ten years in a row, with eight finals appearances and seven championships.

The numbers are astonishing. A 296-78 career record. 42-8 in the NCAA tournament. Four times coach of the year. She's considered one of the best recruiters in college sports, alongside coaches like Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, and has been listed among the top 50 sports figures ever born in Massachusetts. Strong work from a South Shore kid.

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