Blogs and Commentary

 
May 10, 2009

Lochary: WDIA National Championship Blog

by Clare Lochary | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

The nation's top 16 teams converge on Scottsdale, Ariz., just outside Phoenix, this week for the US Lacrosse Women's Division Intercollegiate Associates (WDIA) National Championship, presented by Brine.

LMO's Clare Lochary blogs live from the event. Check back for updates or leave a comment, as Mayhem hits fever pitch in the desert. 


Championship Game Story: VT's Team Approach Pays off in Title

WDIA National Championship Photo Gallery

Final Score: Virginia Tech 17, Colorado 9

The No. 6 seeded Virginia Tech Hokies defeated the No. 4 seeded Colorado Buffaloes, 17-9, to win the 2009 WDIA National Championship. The Hokies' offensive machine couldn't be stopped, and they built up a 10+ points advantage that lasted most of the second half. Tech's Briana Warner (3g, 2a) led all scorers with five points; Christina Griel (4g) and Briana Beach (3g, 1a) contributed four points each. CU's Rebecca Greene scored two of her team-leading three goals in the final minute, when the Hokies were practically overcome with emotion about their immenent victory. Freshman defender Megan McDonough kept CU offensive star Amy Long to just two goals, both in the first half.

The girls from the bench held hands, Red Rover style, as they counted down the clock and then rushed the field in jubilation. They screamed, laughed, cheered and danced to Sweet Caroline.

One interesting note: student player-coach Mindy Sartori fouled out of the game midway through the second half. She didn't pitch a fit or get nervous -- she just coached. Ran the box, watched the time, helped her team.

Said Sartori: "I was mad that I was going to go out that way on my senior year. But maybe I was meant to do that, be on the sidelines and coach."

Sartori's poise and selflessness embody the qualities that made Virginia Tech a national champ. I'll post more later -- including all-tourney team stuff -- but now I have to run run run to catch my flight!

Championship Halftime Update: Virginia Tech 10 Colorado 2

Greetings, lacrosse fans! I am currently reporting to you from under the scorer’s table, which is the shadiest spot on the sideline and the one place where I can get enough glare off the screen to post.

First off, USCB defeated Florida, 9-8 in overtime, for third place. Ashley Antoon-Algieri had the game-winner for the Gauchos.

Now, the championship.

The Hokies came with guns’ ablazing, like some Wild West cowgirls looking for a fight. They have a commanding 10-2 halftime lead, thanks to dominating draw controls and some nice shooting. They were up 7-0 at 14:21. Tech is putting a lot of shots at Katherine Mulligan’s (2 saves) hip box, and it’s working. Colorado had two long possessions that resulted in free position shots that keeper Megan Waters (3 saves) stopped, plus a third that hit the pipe. Tech's suffocating defense is making Colorado work for every shot, much less every goal. Amber Lister scored both goals for the Buffs, one on a free position. Briana Warner leads the Hokies with three goals and an assist. The assist was probably the prettiest goal of the game thus far – Warner fed Katherine Tracey (2g) who was cutting through traffic towards the crease and put the shot at Mulligan’s hip for the sixth goal of the game.

Now we're watching the Desert Stix girls youth lacrosse players participate in a pair of half-field scrimmages. US Lacrosse gave away 200 girls' sticks today to grow the game in Arizona.Seeing the juxtaposition of a fiercely fought championship and a bunch of sunny little girls just learning the game is a good thing.

Notes from the Consolation Bracket

We've got four scores from the consolation bracket, and more to come before the WDIA championship featuring No. 4 seed Colorado versus No. 6 seed Virginia Tech. Florida and UCSB are currently warming up for the third place game. Both teams look pretty fired up about going home with the (metaphorical) bronze medal.

UCLA 18 Texas 12

Three Bruins had a big day - Sarah Strock (4g, 2a), Hayley Wheeler (5g, 3a) and Lauren Ariniello (4g) -- to lift UCLA to victory over the Longhorns. Clayton Crum led Texas with seven goals, tying a tournament high.

Georgia 12 Lindenwood 10

In a closely fought game, Lindenwood took a 10-9 lead with 12:55 to play on Kathryn St. George's back-to-back goals. But Georgia's defense clamped down and shut out the Lions for the rest of the half. The Bulldogs' underclassmen then went on a tear: Georgia got a tying goal from sophomore attacker Lindsay Gipson (2g, 2a), a go-ahead from freshman attacker Kaitlin Shumate (1g) and an insurance goal from freshman middie Kathryn Blum (3g) to pull away with the win. Junior attacker Laura Boland led the Lions with three goals and an assist. Both Blum and Bethany Kotun had hat tricks for the Dogs.

West Chester 17 UConn 11

Freshman midfielder Molly Gannett led the Golden Rams with four goals, and three other players had hat tricks in West Chester's win over the Huskies. Sophomore attacker Amelia Reed was the Golden Rams' points leader with three goals and three assists. Marianne Black led UConn with four goals. The Huskies made a valiant effort in the loss, playing without subs in the desert heat. (UConn brought only 13 players to Scottsdale, and senior Dory Manfre had to head back east early for gradution. Congrats, Dory!)

Central Florida 18 Minnesota 13

The Knights had a slim 7-6 lead at halftime, but broke out in the second period as the Gophers ran out of gas and allowed five unanswered goals that sealed the win for UCF. Kristen Lorow led the Knights with five goals and two assists; freshman Bianca Diaz also contributed five goals. Senior midfielder Cherice Mahal paced the Gophers with four goals.


Final Score: Colorado 18, UCSB 16

Colorado broke its semifinal jinx and sent No. 1 seed UCSB packing with an 18-16 win that sends them into their first WDIA championship game. There was much rejoicing from the Buffs, and many tears from the Gauchos, who were denied a championship berth for the second consecutive year.

Colorado regrouped at halftime and slowed down UCSB's fast breaks, and built up a comfortable 18-13 lead with 6:23 left to play. Both Amy Long (5g) and Amber Lister (6g), who have been playing together since their days at Smokey Hill (Colo.) High School, have some wiggly inside moves that befuddled the Gaucho defense.

“They were so aggressive up top that the drives from the elbows were open, and Amber and I had the shots,” said Lister.

Also, Long is so teeny -- I'm 5'2" and I feel like an Amazon next to her -- that she could just slip under her defenders and get 1v1s with the goalie. But mostly it was a well-executed motion offense.

UCSB staged a late comeback and scored the last three goals of the game, but CU controlled the final draw at 3:26 and ran a stall for most of the remaining time. They did commit a turnover with 26 seconds left, but the last-chance shot went wide, and then CU goalie Katherine Mulligan (9 saves) picked off a pass to end UCSB’s hopes. Ashley Anton-Algieri finished as the Gauchos' leading scorer with six goals.

As it turns out, Colorado has made a habit of getting up early in games, giving away leads, and then escaping with wins. We’ll see if they can do it again versus Virginia Tech, a team they beat 9-7 at the A-town Throwdown way back in February. The Buffs prevailed over the Hokies in an unlikely Atlanta snowstorm, but can they do it again in the desert heat? We shall see...

Halftime report: UCSB 9, Colorado 9

Posted Friday at 9:15 pm MST

Well there goes my leisurely evening of recapping a blowout.

Colorado came out fast and furious; UCSB looked flat as a pancake. When the Buffs got up 6-1, Gauchos head coach Paul Ramsey called a time out to light a fire under his players’ butts. They came back with renewed energy, rattling off a streak of unanswered goals to take a brief 9-8 lead. Colorado’s Amber Lister (1g) had the last word, tying the game at 9-9 with 21 seconds in the half, but the Buffs look rattled.

Besides picking things up offensively, the Gauchos are crashing the ball on defense. Katie Moran had a particularly nice takeaway from CU’s top player Amy Long (3g) that resulted in a goal for Maggie Aker (3g). Ashley Antoon-Algieri also has a hat trick for UCSB and it feels like the tide is turning their way. The Gauchos sing "Ole ole ole ole, Gauchos! Gauchos!" after every goal, a fun regional quirk for the Cali school. For those first two goals, it sounded like a dirge. Now it sounds like a fight song, the way it should.

This game’s prescient halftime song is Don’t Stop Believin’. Who will go on (and on and on and oooooon!) to the championship game versus Virginia Tech?

Final Score: Virginia Tech 15 Florida 13

Virginia Tech took over in the second half, and started slicing and dicing the Florida defense. The Gators shut down Tracey (no points in the second half), but Christina Griel (4g, three of which were in the second half) and Briana Beach (3g, all in the second half) made up the difference. Defensively, the Hokies took away Florida's roll and played some tough, aggressive defense inside the arc.

Sometimes that aggression got to be too much, and Tech got into some trouble midway through the half when they picked up three yellow cards within four minutes of each other. Florida closed the gap to 11-10 at that point, but once the teams equalized, Virginia Tech went on a three-goal run that essentially put the game out of reach.

Much credit goes to Hokie goalie Megan Waters, who finished with 10 saves, many of which came on free positions. (Florida finished with a 5-for-13 on the hash.) When asked how she managed to stare down so many Gators, Waters said, "It sounds so corny, but whenever it happened I'd just think about Bury, and do it for Bury."

Bury is Erika Bury, a Virginia Tech senior defender who was diagnosed with leukemia on Christmas Eve. Her goal was to get well enough to come to WDIAs even if she couldn't play, but for now she's back at Johns Hopkins working on getting better.

"She's my girl, my main defender," says Waters.

Incidentally, Bury's favorite song is Sweet Caroline, which is why they went nuts when it came on at halftime. Pretty sweet, indeed.

Stay tuned for UCSB versus Colorado, which has just gotten underway. We're playing entirely under the lights now. And in the time it took me to write this entry, Colorado got up 4-0 on UCSB!The Gauchos just called a time out at 24:42. Check back soon for more.

Halftime Report from Semifinal #1: Virginia Tech 8, Florida 6

Posted Friday 7:13 pm MST

Folks, we have quite a ballgame here. Both teams started out tentative, afraid to make mistakes, looking great in transition but protecting the ball like Obama's security detail in the offensive end.

Virginia Tech seems to be heating up, particularly Katherine Tracey, who has four goals already. To quote a member of the Hokies’ bench, “Kay Tracey, you’re a filthy animal.” (She really does have some sick moves.)

Freshman Brittini Peck leads the Gators with three goals and an assist. The scoring seems to be coming in bursts – we had three goals in 26 seconds early in the half, and then three more in the last 1:45 of the period. It’s like watching a dance off, or boxers who are bobbing and weaving without landing the KO punch. One team needs to take control of this game to win, or otherwise it’ll just be a matter of who was ahead when the time ran out.

Most of the stats are pretty even – Tech has eight draw controls to Florida’s seven. One standout stat is that both teams are struggling at the hash mark. Tech is 1-for-5 and Florida is 3-for-7. The latter would be better if not for a few nice point-blank saves by Hokies keeper Megan Waters (4 saves).

I caught a ride to the game with the officials, which was awesome because a) they rented a cherry-red Hummer and b) it’s fun to listen to them talk shop, debating the virtues of hand whistles versus whistles on a string. They’ve been earning their pay (which is apparently quite lavish – a Hummer?!) and calling a tight game thus far. By the way, the sun is setting, making for tough visibility but cooler weather.

OK, halftime is ending and both teams are SHOUTING the lyrics to our halftime song of choice, Sweet Caroline. These girls are having some fun out here.

Lions and Bulldogs and Wolverines, Oh My!

posted Friday 1:15 pm MST

Scores, stats and other reported wackiness from the Consolation Bracket.

Georgia 16 UCLA 15 OT

The Bulldogs defeated the Bruins in a slug-out that included eight ties, four lead changes and five overtime goals. The game-winner came from junior midfielder Bethany Kotun (4g). But play of the game goes to sophomore middie Jonna Capehart, who did her darndest to try to prevent the game from going to extra periods in the first place.

With a 13-12 lead and less than a minute to play, Georgia junior goalie Danielle Wertz (12 saves) committed a foul and had to stand outside the cage for junior middie Hayley Wheeler’s (4 g) penalty shot. When Wheeler took the shot, Capehart leaped into the path of the ball and batted it down. Capehart was whistled for a crease violation, and Wheeler scored on her subsequent shot, but it was, in the words of Bulldogs coach Adam Weinstein “a hell of an effort.”

“I love my players. They’ll lay their bodies on the line for the team,” said Weinstein.

Weinstein also reports that it’s Capehart’s birthday today. Happy 20th, Jonna, from everyone at laxmagazine.com and US Lacrosse.

Lindenwood 10 Texas 9

Senior goalie Amanda Shapiro made 14 saves to preserve a 10-9 win for the No. 7 seeded Lions over No. 14 Texas. Juniors Kelsey Anderson (3g) and Ashley Bruce (2g, 2a) led LU’s scoring; senior attacker Lizzy McCoy had three goals for the Longhorns.

Michigan 10 Cal Poly 8

The No. 8 Wolverines jumped to an early 3-0 lead and held on for a 10-8 win over the No. 5 Mustangs. Cal Poly struggled against goalie freshman goalie Emily Scheidt (14 saves), scoring its first goal at 16:57 on an unassisted shot from sophomore attacker Stacy Patch (2g, 1a). Michigan built a 7-3 halftime lead and held on for the win. Sophomore Jess Stanley paced the Wolverines with four goals.

Santa Clara 11 Colorado State 6

The match-up between the No. 2 Broncos and the No. 3 Rams got off to a slow start, with Santa Clara leading 4-2 at halftime. In the second half, Santa Clara reeled off seven goals to secure a 11-6 win. Freshman attacker Maria Pestana broke out with a team-leading three goals. Melanie Waddle and Ashley Gaume each contributed two goals for the Rams.

Minnesota 16 West Chester 12

West Chester faced some penalty troubles versus the Gophers -- five yellow cards were issued to three different players, resulting in two DQs in the second half. Minnesota was powered by the impressive offense of Cherice Mahel (7g, a single-game high for the tournament) and the goaltending of Jennifer Rasmussen (17 saves).

That’s it until later this evening when I’ll report on the semifinals. There will be game stories for both, and I will do my best to post at least some halftime scores and stats. However, my computer is old and creaky and has a tendency to die at inopportune times. Please donate to US Lacrosse so they will buy me a new computer (and do all the other important things that USL does that don't personally involve me), and you can read more about the games you care about!


What's the time? What's the time? What's the time?

posted Friday 11:25 am MST

If I had a dollar for every time I'd been asked this question over the past three days, I would be able to buy myself a really nice gun from the store we passed last night in downtown Scottsdale that had a sign featuring teddy bear hugging an assault weapon. (I didn't figure out until today that it was a visual pun on the Second Amendment, ie the right to BEAR arms. Get it? Don't worry, it will come to you.)

Anyhow, while the Scottsdale Sports Complex has been a wonderful place to play, it's one shortcoming is that it doesn't have large scoreboards that let players, coaches and fans see how much time is left on the clock. So the table volunteers (who are terrific!) get asked this question about 10 times per minute. Sometimes it's relevant, but is your strategy really that different at 23:00 than it was at 25:00?

One time-related note that is VERY relevant is that today's semifinal games have been moved BACK an hour to accomodate the expected 105 degree temps in Scottsdale today. (Thank God we're not on turf.) So Florida and Virginia Tech will play at 6pm MST and Colorado and UCSB will play at 8pm MST.

I'll provide some updates on the consolation brackets later today, but let's take a look at this evening's semifinal games first.

No. 6 Virginia Tech vs. No. 10 Florida

The clock will strike midnight for one of these two Cinderellas tonight. The Hokies upset defending champ Colorado State to make the semis, employing great ball movement to frustrate the Rams. Virginia Tech is student-coached and it shows on the field -- eight different players have scored in their first two games.


Florida arrived in Scottsdale with a big chip on its shoulder. The Gators survived an early season coaching change (the peppy Marla Queris seems like a great fit) and fell to interstate rival Central Florida during the regular season. They avenged themselves by defeating the Knights in the Southeastern Women's Lacrosse League final and earning an automatic bid to WDIAs.

However, the SWLL is considered something of a second-rate league by some (the California and Colorado teams are generally seen as the cream of the crop), so it has been great fun for Florida to blow through the bracket like a hurricane.

"People think we're a hodgepodge team, and we wanted to show everyone our division was just as good as anyone's," said Kate O'Linn, a sophomore attacker with a rocket arm who scored five goals in Florida's second-round upset of No. 2 seeded Santa Clara.

The Gators traveled with only 15 players; by contrast the Hokies have a 27-man roster. That could be a difference maker as these teams prepare to play their third game in three days in the desert heat.

No. 1 seed UCSB vs. No. 4 Colorado

These two programs have been jonesing for a title for a long time. Last year, UCSB lost to Cal Poly, 11-10, in overtime, in the semifinals. The Buffaloes have made it to the WDIA semifinals three of the last four seasons, but have yet to earn a title. They both lost in the 2008 WDIA semis, and ended up playing each other in the third place game, which CU won, 12-10. The UCSB website has a quote from head coach Paul Ramsey that sums up what it means to come so close without winning it all: "Both those games will stick with me for a long time. They may stick with me until we advance further than that at the next opportunity, or maybe even longer."

The Colorado offense likes to light it up (their brightest bulb is senior Amy Long, who scored seven goals and two assists in the first two tourney games), while UCSB is a more measured team. They defeated No. 16 seed West Chester, 12-7, and gritted out a win against No. 8 Michigan, 9-8. Knowing how to slow it down is key to keeping your cool mentally and physically, and it's a strategy that could pay big dividends tonight.


Some Updates on the Consolation Bracket

Here are a few more details on some of the other games that were played today:

Texas 13 Central Florida 11

Thanks to four goals each from Kristina Tan and Bernadette Vingerhoets, the Longhorns defeated the Knights, 13-11. Bianca Diaz led Central Florida with four goals and one assist.

(I didn't see this game because it conflicted with something else, which is a shame because the Texas girls are fun. They yell "Yee-haw" after every goal and they all wore cowboy boots to last night's banquet.)

Lindenwood 18 Uconn 4

Justiene Groothius led LU with four goals and Laura Boland contributed two goals and five assists in the Lions' rout of the Huskies. UConn goalie Kerrie Canavan made 16 saves in the loss. (Also, the WDIA program tells me that Lindenwood's colors are "Black and Vegas Gold." What is this Vegas gold of which you speak? It sounds amazing. I want to redecorate my house is Vegas gold.)

Georgia 12 Minnesota 6

The Bulldogs rebounded from their heartbreaker loss to Cal Poly with a 12-6 win over Minnesota, paced by Lindsay Gibsons three goals and three assists.

UCLA 23 West Chester 7

UCLA's Sarah Strock (6g, 3a) contributed nine points in the Bruins' win, a tournament high for an individual player.

Cal Poly falls; UCSB endures

The higher seed endured in both of the afternoon games in the championship bracket. With both Cal Poly and Colorado State eliminated, we will definitely see a first-time WDIA champion here later this week. Check details below:

Colorado 13 Cal Poly 10

Cal Poly's done folks. The Mustangs lost to No. 4 Colorado, 13-10. The Buffaloes were paced by senior Amy Long (5g), but credit also goes to the defense, which shut out Cal Poly during the last 8:45 minutes of the game after the Mustangs had pulled within one goal of a tie. Cal Poly, who gritted out a win over Georgia in the first round, looked a touch winded by the end of today's game. (By contrast, Colorado skated by Minnesota yesterday.)

"We wanted to spread out their zone defense and just try to wear them out," said Long. "And on our end of the field, we wanted to slow it down."

Amy Long is the twin sister of Lisa Long, a leading scorer for Colorado State, which was eliminated earlier today by Virginia Tech. Both Long sisters wear No. 1, although Amy arguably has a greater right to it, since she was born 30 minutes earlier. (In a weird twin twist, neither sister knew the other's jersey number until they saw each other on the field freshman year.) They were hoping they'd meet in the finals, but that's not quite how it worked out. I asked Amy if she thought that Lisa could slip into the CU lineup without anybody noticing. She laughed and said no -- Lisa's way too loud on the field for anyone not to notice. She'll have to use those pipes as a cheerleader for her sister instead.

UCSB 9 Michigan 8

In the second game of the championship bracket, No. 1 seed UCSB escaped an upset bid from Michigan, 9-8. Junior attacker Sam Lutz led the team with two goals and an assist. Head coach Paul Ramsey also commended the play of freshman goalie Jeni Center (7 saves) and sophomore attacker Ashley Antoon-Algieri (1g, 2a) as key players in the win. The Gauchos lost to the Wolverines, 7-6, at the Santa Barbara tournament, but have since tightened up on their close-game mindset. They run lots of reps going over "up by two" or "down by one" scenarios, which seem to have paid off.

"We wanted to prove it was a fluke," says Antoon-Algieri, in reference to the early-season loss to Michigan. "We're doing it for the four seniors. It's their last chance."

So we've got a semifinal match-up of No. 6 seed Virginia Tech versus No. 10 Florida, and No. 4 Colorado versus No. 1 UCSB. Check back for some scores and details from the consolation bracket. And everyone in the Phoenix area, try to tune to the local ABC affliate for a spot on the WDIA championships.


The Umpire's Lament

Walking off the field at halftime of the UCSB-Michigan game, a ref grimly stated, "This one's going to overtime." She'd just worked the OT game between Florida and SCU, and did not sound happy that her umpire Spidey sense was telling her more extra periods were on the way.

No. 1 seed UCSB has a slim 5-4 margin over No. 8 Michigan at the half, led by senior defender (?) Selina Eadie's two goals. [Correction: Maggie Aker, a junior middie, had 2 goals in the first half, not Eadie.] Although I think that huge roar I heard means that Michigan just scored...yup, that's right. UCSB and Michigan are tied at 5-5 early in the second half.

Also, No. 4 Colorado leads No. 5 Cal Poly, 8-5, at the half. That's not a numerical upset in terms of seeding, but the idea of the only two programs to ever win the WDIA title going down in one afternoon is intriguing. We shall see. As they proved yesterday against Georgia, you do NOT count the Mustangs out until that final airhorn blows.

Virginia Tech, Florida Prevail in Upset Bids

Here are some quick rundowns of what happened; will post more later.

No. 6 seed Virginia Tech defeated reigning WDIA champ Colorado State, 12-11. The Hokies led 12-7 with less than four minutes to play, and the Rams stormed back with four goals in the last three minutes, but it wasn't quite enough for them to pursue their repeat bid. CSU goalie Annette Greenberg kept her team in the game with 10 saves, but the smooth passing and smart ball management that Virginia Tech executed was not to be denied. (Pretty impressive for a team that is student-coached.) Attacker Katherine Tracey came off the bench to lead the Hokies with four goals.

No. 10 seed Florida took it to overtime against No. 2 seeded Santa Clara, and came out on top, 12-10. Both overtime goals were scored by Kate O'Linn, who led the team with five goals total. The Gators came to Scottsdale with a chip on their shoulder -- they felt they'd been overlooked in rankings and seedings, had an early season coaching change and lost three starters to injuries back at the Santa Barbara tournament. They also only put one player on the All-American roster, senior Jesse Hogan (who is on the All-American roster as a defender, on the program roster as a midfielder and scored four goals in the win over SCU). Quoth O'Linn: "We said, let's show 'em all. Maybe we don't have the best individual players but we have the best team."

Yowza, that was some good lacrosse! The two fields were adjacent to each other so I kept running between them to keep up with what was going on. By the time they both were over and I went to interview Tracey, my hand was shaking so hard from adrenaline that I could barely take notes. That hasn't happened to me since the 2007 men's Division I OT quarterfinal between Albany and Cornell. Nice work, WDIA ladies.


Upset Watch! Tech leads CSU at half; Florida-SCU tied.

Posted at 10:10 am MST

No final scores from the championship bracket yet, but we have two great games underway. At halftime, No. 6 seed Virginia Tech leads No. 3 seed (and defending champ) Colorado State, 4-3. Junior attacker Briana Beach leads the Hokies with 2g. Tech took a while to settle in offensively, but once they did the goals started coming fast and furious.

We also have a halftime 6-6 tie for No. 2 Santa Clara and No. 10 Florida. Florida led by as many as two, and would have had a halftime lead if not for a great stop by Broncos keeper Renee Eligio in the final minute of the period. (Eligio ain't the WDIA Goalie of the Year for nothing.) Senior Gators middie Jesse Hogan leads her team with a hat trick; sophomore middie Kayla Ushman paces SCU with two goals. The Broncos are employing a nice spread defense that's preventing one-on-ones, but the Gators are moving the ball well and finding shots.

In the consolation bracket, Lindenwood thumped UConn, 18-4. Check back here for updates on all the games as they progress!


Wake-Up Call

posted Thursday at 8:16 am MST

Games got started at 8am instead of 9am today, to try to save the players from the worst of the heat. I don't know that it will make any differences -- Scottsdale expects a high of 103 today.

The games are just getting started, so there are no new scores to share, but here's a list of the winners from last night's awards banquet. Congrats to all the players who won, as well as Coach of the Year, Tom Hopkins of Central Florida.

Coach of the Year: Tom Hopkins - University of Central Florida
WDIA MVP: Katie Moran (Senior) - UCSB
Attacker of the Year: Laura Boland (Junior) - Lindenwood University
Midfielder of the Year: Krista Shaw (Junior) - Santa Clara University
Defender of the Year: Lindsey Hudek (Junior) - Colorado State University
Goalie of the Year: Renee Eligio (Sophomore) - Santa Clara University
Rookie of the Year: Christine Porter (Freshman) - University of Colorado

Goalie
1st Team

Renee Eligio (Sophomore) - Santa Clara University
Amanda Shapiro (Senior) - Lindenwood University

2nd Team
Danielle Wertz (Junior) - University of Georgia
Casey Bates (Senior) - University of Maryland

Attack
1st Team

Laura Boland (Junior) - Lindenwood University
Ashley Antoon-Algieri (Sophomore) - UCSB
Gracie Binder (Sophomore) - Santa Clara University
Ashley Gaume (Senior) - Colorado State University

2nd Team
Jody Weisenhorn (Junior) - University of Colorado
Sarah Strock (Senior) - UCLA
Natalie Galvin (Junior) - University of Georgia
Deidra Spillane (Junior) - UC-Davis (Tie)
Samantha Lutz (Junior) - UCSB (Tie)

Midfield
1st Team

Katie Moran (Senior) - UCSB
Krista Shaw (Junior) - Santa Clara University
Katie Nepil (Junior) - Colorado State University
Maggie Aker (Junior) - UCSB
Lisa Long (Senior) - Colorado State University
Hayley Wheeler (Junior) - UCLA

2nd Team
Michaela Battiste (Senior) - University of Michigan
Cherice Mahal (Senior) - University of Minnesota
Bethany Kotun (Junior) - University of Georgia
Amber Lister (Junior) - Unversity of Colorado
Julie Baskind (Senior) - University of Michigan
Kristen Lorow (Senior) - University of Central Florida

Defense
1st Team

Lindsey Hudek (Junior) - Colorado State University
Monora Seth (Junior) - UCSB
Sarah Herscovici (Senior) - Santa Clara University
Jesse Hogan (Senior) - University of Florida

2nd Team
Rachel Monheit (Senior) - University of Colorado
Selina Eadie (Senior) - UCSB
Heidi Knoblock (Senior) - University of Georgia
Katie Veile (Junior) - Lindenwood University


Hot Scores from a Hot Place

posted Wednesday at 4:16 pm MST

Day 1 is winding down -- the games are done and all that's left to do is an umpires clinic for newbie referees. I've watched (parts of) eight games, and it feels more like 50 because of all the scoring. The run-and-gun stuff here would make the Syracuse men blush. Playing a slow-down game seems like it would be a way to beat the heat, especially in the first round, but I guess no one came here to play a chess-like defensive game. Everyone had their own way of dealing with it (Cal Poly had 7am conditioning drills, Michigan wore extra layers of clothing during practice to simulate desert heat and Minnesota bought a bunch of rainbow-colored umbrellas), and in all honesty everyone's hot but there have been no heat strokes, fainting spells, etc. And only one reported puker.

More scores and stats for your reading pleasure:

Colorado 15 Minnesota 7

No. 4-seeded Colorado scored eight unanswered goals in the second half to hold off an upset-minded No. 13 Minnesota, despite the best efforts of Gophers junior keeper Jennifer Rasmussen (17 saves). Junior attacker Rebecca Greene led the Buffaloes with four goals and one assist. Props to the Colorado defense, which shut out Minnesota for 24 minutes in the second half, allowing the offense to pull away from the danger zone. Colorado will play Cal Poly in the next round.

Cal Poly 15 Georgia 14

The No. 5 seeded Mustangs trailed by as much as four early in the second half, but stormed back to defeat No. 12 Georgia, 15-14. Sophomore attacker Stacy Patch led her team with five goals, but her classmate Allegra Cabellon came off the bench for what would prove to be the game-winner. Georgia middie Bethany Kotun scored five goals for the Bulldogs, including one with 4:50 to play to come within one. Georgia goalie Danielle Wertz made 13 saves, including a few dazzlers in the last minutes, but the Bulldogs kept committing turnovers and couldn't force overtime. Cal Poly will play Colorado in the next round.

UCSB 12 West Chester 7

In the tournament's lowest-scoring game thus far, No. 1 UCSB trumped No. 16 West Chester, thanks to the offensive efforts of sophomore Ashley Antoon-Algieri (3g, 1a) and junior attacker Sam Lutz (1g, 4a). All of the Golden Rams goals game from sophomore attacker Sarah James (4g) and junior attacker Alyse Kullman (3g), and six of seven came in the second half, when UCSB played its bench. The Gauchos may well have been pacing themselves for their second-round game against No. 8 Michigan, a team that beat UCSB by one goal early in the season at the Santa Barbara tournament. (Revenge is a dish best served cold.)

Michigan 17 UCLA 13

The No. 8 Wolverines broke out late in the second half and scored four unanswered goals to beat No. 9 UCLA. Michigan coach Jen Dunbar had a sub early and often strategy to beat the heat, which paid off when Jess Stanley came off the bench for a team-high three goals and two assists, despite the best efforts of Bruins goalie Emily Buegelmans (15 saves). The Wolverines now must sharpen their claws for top-seeded UCSB, a team they edged earlier in the season in an upset road win. Despite the hard-fought game against UCLA, Michigan likely has energy to spare -- they are definitely the most enthusiastic team at the tournament, if you judge that sort of thing by how loudly the players on the sideline cheer (a pretty good measure, in my opinion).


Quenching Your Thirst for Scores, Stats

posted Wednesday at 12:50 pm MST

Here are some fast summaries of today's WDIA games thus far. We've had lots and lots of scoring, not so much defense. That may be a result of the weather - it's tough to stay hydrated sitting in the shade, much less trying to chase down an attacker. The officials instituted a tournament rule that there will be a water break during each half, in addition to regular time outs. The water breaks occur after a goal or on a dead ball; no coaching allowed during said breaks. It's funny to watch the coaches stand outside the huddle and look all twitchy because they can't say anything. A coach who can't coach midgame is a deeply unhappy being. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly....

Anyhow, some scores, stats, who's looking upbeat and who's looking upset. More to come later, so check back.

Colorado State 14, Texas 9

No. 3 seed Colorado State took the first step towards defending its 2008 WDIA Championship by defeating No. 14 Texas, 14-9. Longhorns freshman goalie Sarah Beckworth put up 16 saves against the Bison, but it wasn't enough to hold off CSU powerful attack, anchored by junior attacker Kristen Kasney (3g) and senior attacker Ashley Gaume (3g). Texas freshman attacker Margaret Cannata (3g, 1a) led all scorers. Colorado State will play Virginia Tech in the next round.

Virginia Tech 17, Central Florida 12

No. 6 seed Virginia Tech used a strong and varied attack to defeat No. 11 Central Florida, 17-12. Seven different players scored for the Hokies, including four (Marjory Jones, Katherine Tracey, Katherine Berkel and Briana Beach) who had hat tricks. Berkel and Beach also contributed an assist each. Senior midfielder Kristen Lorow had six goals and one assist for the Knights, a tournament-high goal total after the first four games. Virginia Tech sophomore goalie Maggie Lachendro had nine saves in the win; UCF sophomore keeper Katie Noe made eight stops. The Hokies will play defending WDIA champion Colorado State in the next round.

Florida 15, Lindenwood 6

In the tournament's only upset thus far, No. 10 seed Florida beat No. 7 seed Lindenwood, 15-6. The game got off to a slow start, thanks to numerous turnovers by both teams, until Jesse Hogan broke through on an unassisted goal at 20:39 in the first half for the Gators. Employing a spread offense that wore the Lions down, Florida built a 9-3 halftime lead and never looked back. Freshman attacker Brittini Peck led the Gators with four goals. Freshman midfielder Lauren Garrett, a native of Eagle, ID, led Lindenwood with two goals before being disqualified on her second yellow card with 3:34 minutes remaining in the game. Florida faces No. 2 seed Santa Clara in the next round.

Santa Clara 24, UConn 10

No. 2 seed Santa Clara leaped to a 5-0 lead against No. 15 UConn, and raced to a 24-10 win. Broncos junior attacker Jenna Choquette had a team-high five goals, plus two assists, but it was sophomore attacker Gracie Binder's four goals and four assists that set a tournament-high points total after the first four games. UConn, which has only one substitute player, was led by freshman attacker Marjory Lewis (4g, 1a). Santa Clara sophomore goalie Renee Eligio made five saves; UConn junior Kerrie Canavan made 10 stops. The Broncos will face No. 10 seed Florida, who upset No. 7 seed Lindenwood, in the first round. (Incidentally, Santa Clara has one of the most geographically diverse rosters in the tournament, with players hailing from nine states. Choquette is from Rhode Island, Binder is from Washington state, and Eligio is a California girl.)


The Grass is Greener...in the Desert?

posted Tuesday at 10:01 pm MST

Hello from (very) sunny Scottsdale! Actually, the sun has set and left us with a beautiful desert night, but once it starts climbing again, both the weather and the competition will heat up. Just helping to set up the fields left me a bit sunburnt and dehydrated, so players and spectators please go heavy on the water and the sunscreen. The fields at the Scottsdale Sports Complex, look great, though. They are very well manicured Bermuda grass framed by stunning mountain vistas, and best of all, LINED ONLY FOR WOMEN'S LACROSSE. I cannot remember the last time I saw a municipal field lined for only one sport, much less women's lacrosse. I liked the fields so much that I walked around picking up a few cigarette butts that marred their purity.

The five-hour flight out was uneventful, and for me, really productive. I always get a ton done on planes -- it's the perfect combination of zero entertaining distractions and a seat just uncomfortable enough that I can't fall asleep. I brainstormed two columns. read 75 pages of this book, and the entire Baltimore Sun. (Sidebar: I'm a Sun alum and I'm just heartbroken about the recent massive layoffs. The remaining staffers will have to stretch themselves, and the paper's traditionally great lacrosse coverage may fall by the wayside. That said, Ed Lee has a nice piece in today's edition about the NCAA men's tournament selection process.)

All that, and I still had time to peruse the list of tomorrow's WDIA games. I"m most looking forward to No. 5 Cal Poly versus No. 12 Georgia. Cal Poly, seven-time WDIA champ, has lost some of its lustre in the past two seasons, losing in the 2008 title match to Colorado State and posting a second place finish in the Western Women's Lacrosse League in 2009. Despite the championship pedigree, the Mustangs look more blue collar than blue blood these days -- they'll have to work to get past the Buldogs. Georgia had a Jekyll-and-Hyde season that includes wins over top-seeded UCSB and defending champ Colorado State, as well as losses to Miami (Ohio) and five other teams (all in the WDIA tournament). The Bulldogs finished third in their conference, trailing Florida and Centrail Florida. So which Georgia will show up tomorrow on that gorgeous field under the hot desert sun? Will we see a 5-12 upset, or will the 'Stangs gallop toward another title?


We're Going to Nationals

posted Tuesday at 7:35 a.m. EST

Greetings from scenic Baltimore-Washington International Airport. I'm waiting to board my flight to Phoenix for the 2009 US Lacrosse Women's Division Intercollegiate Associates (WDIA) National Championship. I can't wait to escape rainy, chilly East Coast for some good lacrosse played in Arizona sunshine. I packed a huge bottle of SPF 50 spray-on sunblock. (I once owned a foundation called "Pasty Beige" so it's important for me to try to not fry my skin like an egg on a skillet in the desert.) I'm sort of surprised it got through security.

As much as I'm looking forward to covering the tournament, let's be honest -- sports writers never have as much fun as players. The one exception to this would be in the airport itself, where I can stroll through with my carry-on and my laptop, cruising by the No. 6 seed Virginia Tech club team and their approximately eleventy billion tons of baggage and gear. I don't even want to think about what time they had to leave Blacksburg, Va. to be in line at BWI at 6:30 am. My alarm went off at 5 am this morning and I almost cried. 

By contrast, the Hokies appear to be morning people, or maybe they're just excited for their first-round match-up with No. 11 seed Central Florida. Virginia Tech is one of the truly student-run WDIA teams. They are student-coached and responsible for all fundraising and travel arrangements, in addition to what happens on the field. They run a tight ship, too. I can't imagine what would have happened if I'd tried to arrange a cross-country trip for 20-some girls in college. We probably would have ended up in a Mexican brothel or something. I barely made it to the airport this morning, and then I made the singularly terrible decision to have a whole wheat bagel from Subway, which was the worst bagel of my whole entire life. (The Tech girls are having Starbucks and seem very happy with it. The rest of the USL crew is eating McDonald's. The woman who is visibly drunk and having another beer at 7:30 am doesn't appear to be affliated with either group. I guess it's five o'clock somewhere.)


UCSB Nabs Top Seed

posted Monday at 2:27 p.m. EST

UC Santa Barbara has earned the top seed for the 2009 US Lacrosse Women's Division Intercollegiate Associates (WDIA) National Championship Tournament, presented by Brine. UCSB completed an 18-2 season record with a 12-10 victory over No. 2-ranked Santa Clara in the Western Women's Lacrosse League championship game, earning the league's automatic bid to the tournament.

Here's another glimpse at the first-round games, which commence Wednesday.

No. 1 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 16 West Chester Club
No. 2 Santa Clara vs. No. 15 Connecticut Club
No. 3 Colorado State vs. No. 14 Texas
No. 4 Colorado vs. No. 13 Minnesota
No. 5 Cal Poly vs. No. 12 Georgia
No. 6 Virginia Tech Club vs. No. 11 Central Florida
No. 7 Lindenwood vs. No. 10 Florida
No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 9 UCLA


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