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May 8, 2014

Boston College Upset Run Continues Into WCLA DI Semis

by Paul Ohanian | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

A day after upsetting No. 2 Florida, 15th-seed Boston College advanced to the Division I WCLA semifinals by edging 10th-seed UCSB. They will take on Ohio State in Friday's semifinal. (Sam Owens)

Thursday's Division II Recap | Thursday Photo Gallery

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (May 8, 2014) – Three of the top five seeds and one longshot are the last four teams still chasing the Division I crown at the conclusion of day two at the 2014 Women's Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA) National Championships. And while it's still unclear which of the four semifinalists – Pittsburgh, Ohio State, UCLA or Boston College – will eventually emerge as the champion on Saturday afternoon, one thing is known at this point. The WCLA will have a first-time champion in 2014. Only UCLA, which finished as national runner-up in 2011, has advanced this far previously.

Tight games were the rule of the day as none of Thursday's winners had an easy trip to the final four. Three of the four quarterfinals were decided by one goal.

Proving that yesterday's upset of No. 2 seed Florida was no fluke, No. 15 seed Boston College continued its magical run with a 12-11 victory over No. 10 UC Santa Barbara. BC led 8-4 at halftime, but UCSB tallied three straight to open the second half and eventually moved ahead 11-9 with just over five minutes remaining. Back-to-back goals by BC's Kristina Howe and Kaitlin Brown just 36 seconds apart knotted the score with 3:03 left, and set the stage for more late-game BC heroics. As the closing seconds ticked away, senior Meghan Conley found a cutting Nicole Wei on the crease and Wei deposited the game-winner with just 12 seconds left.

"We were killing some time on that last possession, then it was just a quick shot," Wei said. "We're super pumped right now and feel like we're right there with any of the other teams."

Next up for the Eagles will be No. 3 seed Ohio State, which also earned a 12-11 victory with its own comeback. Trailing No. 6 Santa Clara by three goals with seven minutes to play, the Buckeyes scored five times in a stretch of four minutes to rally for the win. One day after her 12-point performance in the opening round, senior Eve Tranchito was at it again, scoring a team-high five goals to fuel the Buckeye comeback. She scored four of her five markers in the second half. Goalie Tricia Hengehold added 10 saves for OSU, which earns a semifinal berth in its first-ever appearance in the national championship.

Conversely, No. 1 Pitt is no newcomer to the tournament, with seven previous appearances, but the Panthers had never advanced to the final four – until Thursday. Despite being one player short for the final 5:48 due to a second yellow card, Pitt held off No. 8 Michigan for an 11-9 victory, providing coach Gary Neft with a fitting birthday present.

"You've got to go through one of these tight games to win a championship," Neft said. "It's tough to play Michigan because we know each other so well. We're both very familiar with each other."

Brigit Knaus, Grace Gallagher and Clare Sherry each scored two goals apiece to lead the Panthers.

No. 5 UCLA also needed late-game heroics to earn its semifinal spot. Despite leading 7-3 at halftime, the Bruins were deadlocked with No. 4 Georgia at 8-8 with less than five minutes remaining, providing freshman Theresa Zwaschka with an opportunity to be the hero. The freshman scored unassisted with 4:49 remaining to lift UCLA to the 9-8 win.

"That was definitely our most challenging game," said UCLA coach Paige Lin. "We never expect that a lead will be big enough, as was the case today."

UCLA will face Pitt in Friday's first semifinal at 5 p.m. (EST), followed by Ohio State against Boston College in the second semifinal at 7 p.m.

Thursday's WCLA Division I Results

No. 1 Pitt 11, No. 8 Michigan 9
No. 5 UCLA 9, No. 4 Georgia 8
No. 3 Ohio State 12, No. 6 Santa Clara 11
No. 15 Boston College 12, No. 10 UC Santa Barbara 11

Thursday's WCLA Division I Consolation Bracket Results

Towson 19, Oregon State 5
Texas 13, Virginia Tech 9
Delaware 10, Colorado 7
Florida 19, Colorado State 10


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