WCLA Heavyweights, Title Game Hopefuls Advance to Semifinals
Emily DeSimone had three goals and four assists to help Cal Poly get past Texas in the US Lacrosse WCLA quarterfinals.
© Cecil Copeland
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – For the first seven years of the US Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates National Championships, the event was dominated by Cal Poly with the Mustangs winning all seven national championships from 2001 to 2007. More recently, the dominance has shifted to Colorado State, with the Rams winning national titles in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
Those two heavyweights will square off in a semifinal of this year’s championship, presented by Harrow Sports, on Friday at the El Pomar Sports Park. Cal Poly defeated Texas 11-7 in the quarterfinals on Thursday, and No. 1 seed Colorado State topped Pitt 16-11.
The other semifinal features underdog UC Santa Barbara, the No. 11 seed of the tournament, which pulled off its second straight upset by beating Georgia 11-6. UCSB will meet No. 2 seed BYU, which easily handled Santa Clara 18-6.
Even with no national titles since 2007, Cal Poly has still been a dominant fixture at this tournament. The Mustangs reached the championship game in 2008 and 2010. But last year, Cal Poly did not receive a bid to nationals for the first time in program history.
“We worked every day as hard as we could to get back to nationals and bring back a national title,” said junior Emily DeSimone, who had three goals and four assists in Cal Poly’s win over Texas. “I think we still haven’t peaked. I think these next two games, we’ll have our best lacrosse.”
To get to the second game that counts, they’ll have to get past an undefeated Colorado State squad that is 20-0 after its win over Pitt. Down 4-2 with 10 minutes to play in the first half, CSU scored the final six goals of the first half to take command. Senior Karly Slyne, who was injured at year’s championship and unable to play in a title game loss to UC Davis Club, came up big with three goals and four assists for the Rams in the win over Pitt.
The other semifinal features two teams that have never made it to the finals, though UCSB has been a top seed on multiple occasions.
“We’ve come here so many times with teams that were supposed to win the whole thing or at least make the final, and I feel like it was just too much pressure for us,” said UCSB coach Paul Ramsey. “This year we didn’t even know if we were going to get selected. There’s no pressure. It’s all coming together at the right time.”
UCSB rode a strong defense to get past Georgia in the quarterfinals. The defense, led by Cailan Howey and goalie Megan Hughes, held Georgia to just two second half goals. Hughes made six of her nine saves in the second half.
The defense will need to be ready against a potent BYU offense. Kristin Lund had five goals and four assists in the Cougars convincing win over Santa Clara, and Brooke Smith and Briana Arnold each added four goals.
Brief recaps and scores from Thursday, and Friday’s schedule follow:
Division I Quarterfinals
Colorado State 16, Pitt 11: Top-seeded Colorado
State scored the last six goals of the first half, all in the final
10 minutes, to turn a 4-2 deficit into an 8-4 halftime lead and
went on to earn the victory. Karly Slyne had three assists during
the run and finished with a game-high seven points (3g, 4a) to lead
the Rams. Sarah Moyer added three goals for CSU and Pitt was led by
Christa Lausten and Kellyn Warren with three goals each.
BYU 18, Santa Clara 6: BYU held Santa Clara scoreless for a stretch of more than 25 minutes from the end of the first half to late in the second half to advance to the semifinals. Megan McCleary made seven saves in the victory and Kristin Lund had a big offensive day with five goals and four assists. Briana Arnold and Brooke Smith also added four goals for the Cougars. Maggie Burke led Santa Clara with two goals and an assist.
Cal Poly 11, Texas 7: Kelly Harris played her second straight big game, making 10 saves to lead Cal Poly into the semifinals. Emily DeSimone scored the first of her three goals with just 1:01 left in the first half to give Cal Poly a 6-4 edge at the break and then added two more goals and two assists in the second half to lead the Mustangs. DeSimone finished with three goals and four assists and Meggan Weinell had four goals. Tully Moorhead scored three goals for Texas and Ina Prevalsky added two.
UCSB 11, Georgia 6: UCSB held Georgia scoreless for the final 24 minutes of the game to advance to the semifinals. Megan Hughes had nine saves for the Gauchos, including six in the second half. Katie Mitchell had a game-high four goals for UCSB, including the first three goals of the second half for her team. Lindsay Alex added two goals and three assists for UCSB. Jenna Dreyer led Georgia with a pair of goals.
Division I Consolation Games
Minnesota 14, Virginia Club 10: Minnesota used a seven-goal run in the first half to overcome an early 2-0 deficit on its way to the win over Virginia. Barbara Mathewson had two goals during the run and finished with six for the game. Ashlee Miller and Sophia Nesser each added two for Minnesota. Grace Jackson had three goals and two assists to lead Virginia.
Florida Club 18, Oregon Club 2: The Gators jumped out to a 12-0 halftime lead to cruise to a victory. Katherine Sonier led the Gators with five goals and Nicole White added three. Florida goalie Heather Gable made six saves. Kylie Agon and Nicole Hamburger scored for Oregon.
Southern Cal Club 21, Northeastern 20: Megan Rilkoff scored her seventh goal of the game on a free position shot with 23 seconds left to break a 20-20 tie and give USC the shootout win. Halley Fisher had five goals and four assists for Northeastern, and had given the Huskies a 19-17 lead with 11:08 to play, but USC responded with a pair of goals by Elena Skouras to tie the game 19-19. The teams then traded goals before Rilkoff’s game-winner. Skouras added five goals for USC and Hayden Furey had four goals and two assists. Chelsea Andre (4g, 3a) and Anne Lally (4g, 2a) both had big games for Northeastern.
Maryland Club 13, Michigan Club 7: Lauren Groft had five goals, four of them in the first half, to lead the Terps to a win. Groft added three assists for an eight-point game. Her fourth goal of the game came with 26 seconds left in the first half to help Maryland to a 6-4 lead and then the Terps scored the first three goals of the second half. Ashlee Wilkes added four goals for Maryland. Julianne Patterson led Michigan with three goals.
Thursday Scores (May 9)
Division I Quarterfinals
Colorado State 16, Pittsburgh 11
BYU 18, Santa Clara 6
Cal Poly 11, Texas 7
UC Santa Barbara 13, Georgia 7
Division I Consolation
Minnesota 14, Virginia Club 10
Florida Club 18, Oregon Club 2
Southern Cal Club 21, Northeastern 20
Maryland Club 13, Michigan Club 7
Friday Schedule (May 10)
Division I Semifinals
3 pm: No. 1 Colorado State vs. No. 4 Cal Poly
5:30 pm: No. 2 BYU vs. No. 11 UC Santa Barbara
Division I Consolation
11 am: No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 10 Santa Clara
11 am: No. 5 Texas vs. No. 8 Pittsburgh
11 am: No. 12 Michigan Club vs. No. 16 Northeastern
2 pm: No. 6 Virginia Club vs. No. 16 Oregon Club
2 pm: No. 8 Southern Cal Club vs. No. 13 Maryland Club
2 pm: No. 7 Florida Club vs. No. 14 Minnesota