Curse No More: Colorado State Wins National Championship
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The curse is officially over.
Colorado State capped an undefeated season, dominating UC Santa Barbara 14-4 at the El Pomar Sports Park to become the first No. 1 seed to win the US Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates National Championship since Cal Poly in 2007. It was the third national championship for CSU’s seniors, and avenged a loss to UC Davis in last year’s title game.
“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves because we didn’t want to feel like we did last year,” said senior Hayley Bernstein, who had five goals in the championship game and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Midfielder. “All week we were saying we’re going to make history, and it couldn’t have turned out any better.”
The Rams made history with excellent play and some serious toughness.
“I had my appendix out a week and a half ago,” said Bernstein. “We’re such a close team when I woke up from my surgery, half my team was in the waiting room.”
She was hardly alone in showing grit. Senior midfielder Sarah Moyer got her left wrist stepped on in the semifinals and was gingerly holding it for much of the last two days. She scored two goals in the championship game. Senior Karly Slyne was wearing a knee brace from an injury she suffered on the same field last year, and ignited a key three-goal run in the first half with a goal and two assists. And senior attacker Maddie Garcia had her shoulder bandaged and was hobbling around on a bad ankle the entire tournament. She netted three goals in the championship game, and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Attack player.
Hayley Bernstein had five goals to help Colorado State to its third national championship in the last four years.
© Cecil Copeland
“We played through broken bones, pulled muscles, torn shoulders,” said Bernstein. “I think that says a lot about our team. We’re willing to do whatever it takes.”
“Knowing what it felt like to lose in the championship game, we were never going to let that happen again,” said Moyer.
The Rams won thanks to a vintage shutdown performance on defense. Colorado State gave up just a combined 16 goals in its previous three national championships (2008, 2010 and 2011), and second-year CSU coach Lindsey Hudek was a key defender for two of those title teams. She said last year she put too much emphasis on offense.
“I knew I needed to change my mentality,” said Hudek. “I was so driven with the attack last year that I kind of forgot about the defense. This year was very balanced. We worked on attack and we worked on defense. Every part of the field had to be strong, and I think that was the difference this year.”
The victory capped a perfect 22-0 season, but one that was full of pressure and expectations. CSU’s previous championships had not come when they were in the role of favorite.
“One of the main things we’ve been saying all season is that we’ve won the tournament in all black because we were always the underdog and now we’ve won it in all white and that’s what we wanted all along," said Bernstein. "The curse of the one seed, I think we broke it.”
Recaps of the consolation games follow:
BYU 13, Cal Poly 9: Brooke Smith scored six goals and Megan McCleary made 10 saves as the Cougars earned a third place finish. BYU scored four goals in the final five minutes of the first half, three of them by Smith, to take an 8-6 halftime lead. Cal Poly’s Kendra Keenan scored just 55 seconds into the second half to cut the lead to one, but the Mustangs then went more than 20 minutes before scoring again. Kristin Lund added two goals and two assists for BYU and Briana Arnold had two goals. Cal Poly was led by Emily DeSimone and Avi Feldman with two goals each while Kelly Harris made nine saves.
Georgia 8, Texas 3: Georgia held Texas scoreless for the final 34 minutes of the game to win a low-scoring affair. Georgia goalie Emily Seidel made 10 saves in the victory while the Bulldogs offense was paced by Murphy Ferguson with two goals and two assists. Kimberly Khourie, Tully Moorhead and Kaitlin Bahr scored for Texas.
Santa Clara 16, Pittsburgh 12: Santa Clara held Pitt to just one goal in the final 22 minutes, rallying from an 11-6 second half deficit to earn the win. Maggie Burke led the Broncos with six goals and two assists and Brooke Bett’s second goal of the game broke a 12-12 tie with 5:38 to play. Margaret Stankaitis and Christa Laustsen each had four goals for Pitt.
Southern Cal Club 19, Minnesota 12: Trailing 8-7 at the half, USC turned the tide by storming out with seven goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Five different Trojans scored at least three goals – Elena Skouras (4), Megan Rilkoff (3), Hayden Furey (3), Erin McGillivray (3) and Madison Boutilier (3). USC goalie Madison Aguirre made 14 saves. Minnesota was led by Hannah Segar with three goals and two assists and Ashlee Miller with three goals.
Florida Club 15, Maryland Club 9: Florida held Maryland to just one first-half goal and led by as many as 10 goals in cruising to the win. McKinley Carden paced the Gator offense with four goals and two assists while Nicole White and Jenna Hildebrand each had three goals. Megan Lusby has four goals for the Terps and Jillian Marchese has three assists.
Virginia Club 17, Michigan Club 15: Virginia had 11 different goal scorers and outlasted Michigan in a game of runs. The Cavaliers scored five goals in the final five minutes of the first half to take a 13-6 halftime lead, but Michigan answered by scoring the first five goals of the second half to cut it to 13-11. The Cavaliers regained momentum and led 17-12 before Michigan scored the last three goals of the game. Trent Holden led Virginia with three goals while Michigan was paced by Katie Mezwa with six goals and Julianne Patterson with four. Michigan’s Sydney Franko made 13 saves.
Northeastern 14, Oregon Club 13: Chelsea Andre broke a 13-13 tie by scoring her second goal of the game with 4:55 to play to lead the Huskies to the win. Northeastern trailed 7-5 at the half, but Anne Lally scored all four of her goals in the second half as the Huskies rallied. Northeastern goalies Demetra Venancio and Katie Markey combined to make 13 saves. Hanna Peper led Oregon with three goals and two assists and Siobhan Mead also had three goals.
Championship Game –Colorado State 14, UC Santa Barbara 4
3rd place game – BYU 13, Cal Poly 9
5th place game – Georgia 8, Texas 3
7th place game – Santa Clara 16, Pittsburgh 12
9th place game – Southern Cal Club 19, Minnesota 12
11th place game – Florida Club 15, Maryland Club 9
13th place game – Virginia Club 17, Michigan Club 15
15th place game – Northeastern 14, Oregon Club 13
Lindsay Alex, UCSB
Briana Arnold, Brigham Young
Hayley Bernstein, Colorado State
Maggie Burke, Santa Clara
Maddie Garcia, Colorado State
Bridget Haby, Texas
Jordan Haws, Brigham Young
Cailan Howey, UCSB
Megan Hughes, UCSB
Grace Jackson, Virginia Club
Jamee Jacobson, Michigan Club
Sarah Langlie, Colorado State
Christa Laustsen, Pittsburgh
Brooks Leavell, Georgia
Erin Liebe, Oregon Club
Megan Lusby, Maryland Club
Erin McGillivray, Southern Cal Club
Brittany O’Rourke, Northeastern
Randi Pool, Minnesota
Nikki Searle, Brigham Young
Christine Waterhouse, Florida Club
Megan Weinell, Cal Poly
Most Outstanding Players
Attack: Maddie Garcia, Colorado State
Midfield: Hayley Bernstein, Colorado State
Defense: Cailan Howey, UCSB
Goalie: Megan Hughes, UCSB
Keeper of Lacrosse Award (sportsmanship): Southern Cal Club