TOWSON, Md. - When lacrosse coach Karin Brower and three of her Penn players appeared in the interview room after the Quakers' 10-6 loss to Northwestern in the NCAA Division I title game, they hardly looked defeated.

It was the first time that Penn (17-2) had reached the final, played at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

"We couldn't be prouder of ourselves," said Rachel Manson, whose goal with 13 minutes, 43 seconds left pulled Penn to within 8-6. "Our team worked very hard to be here, but unfortunately we didn't come out with the win. Northwestern is a great team, and we give them all the credit that they deserve. This was the most exciting game I've ever played in."

Northwestern (21-1) won its fourth straight championship.

The Quakers were seeking to become the first Philadelphia-area team to win an NCAA Division I title since Villanova's women took the cross-country crown in 1998.

"We are just really happy that we had a fabulous season," said Brower, who completed her ninth campaign with the Quakers. "I have a great group of young girls that worked really hard all year to get us to this point, and I am just really proud of them. They fought the entire game and worked their hearts out."

Penn outshot Northwestern, 20-19, and the Quakers had four fewer turnovers. But in the critical category of draws, the Wildcats outfought the Quakers, 11-7.

"We lost a lot of draws and didn't have possession for a lot of the game," Penn goalie Sarah Waxman said. "I think it's hard to play defense the whole game."

"We had our chances," midfielder Melissa Lehman said. "We were getting into the lane, but I think we rushed our shots. And if you want to score, you can't be rushed."

Penn, which downed Northwestern, 11-7, in a regular-season game April 27, will lose seven seniors from this year's team.

"I think these seven seniors are leaving a legacy of working hard," Brower said. "I think they set an excellent example which will help keep Penn on top."

Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.