JMU Club, Utah to Meet for US Lacrosse WCLA DII Championship
Amtahcha Award winner Laura Hunter had five goals, including the game-winner as Utah beat Duke 18-16 to advance to the finals against JMU Club.
© Cecil Copeland
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The two top seeds will meet for the US Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates Division II National Championship, but getting there was anything but easy. No. 1 seed James Madison Club nearly lost a five-goal second half lead before posting a 14-13 win over Loyola (Md.) Club and No. 2 seed Utah nearly lost a six-goal second half lead before it beat Duke Club 18-16 in the semifinals at El Pomar Sports Park.
“I’ve never been on a team that’s made it this far in anything,” said Utah’s Laura Hunter, who scored the go-ahead goal with 1:27 to play to lead the Utes to their win. “It’s just so fun because we’ve all worked so hard individually and as a team. It’s so awesome to be in the finals.”
Utah found itself trailing 7-2 midway through the first half, but then scored six straight goals in a span of just over nine minutes to briefly take an 8-7 lead. Duke’s Melissa Frio ended the run by scoring with just three seconds left in the first half to tie the game 8-8.
The goal did nothing to slow Utah’s momentum as the Utes scored the first six goals of the second half to take a seemingly commanding 14-8 lead with 22 minutes left in the game. Duke then caught fire scoring six straight goals to tie the game 14-14 and eventually regained the lead at 16-15 on Meghan McAney’s goal with 11:46 to play.
Duke held that one-goal lead until Haley Poulson netted her sixth goal of the game to tie it 16-16 with 2:40 to play. Just over a minute later, Hunter drove in from the left wing to give the Utes the lead and Hannah Rodgers clinched it with an insurance goal with 52 seconds left in the game.
Poulson’s six goals led all goal scorers while Hunter added five for Utah. Frio and Melanie Sperling each had four for Duke. Duke goalie Katherine Fraile made 14 saves and Utah goalies Aori Saito and Tsivya Devereaux combined to make 11.
JMU had its own struggles, but Julia Joo played the hero on two separate occasions for the Dukes.
After Loyola had gained momentum by scoring three straight goals to trim JMU’s lead to 10-7, Joo intercepted a clearing pass and scored a JMU goal. Just over a minute later she scored again to give the Dukes a 12-7 lead with 10:24 to play. But Loyola was not done.
The Greyhounds scored five straight goals , tying the game 12-12
on Jourdan Brown’s goal with 3:46 remaining. The teams then
traded goals before Joo played the hero role once again. Joo
notched her fifth goal of the game with 38 seconds left to give JMU
Catherine Flood added two goals and an assist for JMU while Allison Rose led Loyola with five goals and two assists. Loyola goalie Molly Burnett made 16 saves.
JMU and Utah will meet in the championship game on Saturday at 12 noon, a rematch of a regular season game that JMU won 14-7.
“The score didn’t really reflect the playing,” said Utah’s Hunter, “so we’re really excited to get in there and prove to them what kind of team we are.”
Recaps from the consolation games follow:
North Carolina Club 14, Santa Barbara City College 4: North Carolina outscored Santa Barbara City College 10-0 in the second half to pull away for the win. Sarah McCullough had four goals to lead the Tar Heels and Macy Marcucci and Johanna White each had two goals and one assist. SBCC goalie Briki Cajandig had her second straight day with at least 20 stops, finishing with exactly 20. Megan McCullough had two goals and an assist for SBCC.
Oakland 13, Minnesota-Duluth 4: Lauren Pattah made 12 saves as Oakland shut down Minnesota-Duluth. Desiree Messina paced the Oakland offense with a game-high five goals and Nina Grubba added two goals and two assists. Nora Lee made 11 saves for Minnesota-Duluth.
Friday Scores (May 10)
Division II Semifinals
James Madison Club 14, Loyola (Md.) Club 13
Utah 18, Duke Club 16
Division II Consolation
North Carolina Club 14, Santa Barbara City College 4
Oakland 13, Minnesota-Duluth 4
Saturday Schedule (May 11)
Championship Game – 12 noon: No. 1 James Madison Club vs. No. 2 Utah, Field 1
3rd place game – 10:30 am: No. 3 Duke Club vs. No. 5 Loyola (Md.) Club, Field 6
5th place game – 10 am: No. 4 North Carolina Club vs. No. 6 Oakland, Field 3
7th place game – 7:30 am: No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth vs. No. 8 Santa Barbara City College, Field 1