Semifinals Set at US Lacrosse West Championships
|Alexa Bolton scored two goals to
help Desert Heat Black (Ariz.) defeat Coast to Coast Wave (Calif.),
7-6, and clinch a spot in the semifinals of the US Lacrosse West
Championships, powered by Lacrosse Unlimited, and an automatic
invitation to the US Lacrosse U15 National Championship in Orlando
SAN JOSE, Calif. – With an atypical heat wave smothering much of Northern California, 57 youth teams from seven states battled each other and the elements during the second day of the US Lacrosse West Championships, powered by Lacrosse Unlimited, at the scenic Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center.
At the U15 level, the prize for earning a spot in Sunday’s semifinal is more lacrosse in another destination where sunny skies and warm temperatures reign: Orlando, for the fifth annual US Lacrosse U15 National Championship, powered by Lacrosse Unlimited, July 23-25 (girls) and 26-28 (boys). Eight teams earned automatic invitations Saturday, and some made their intentions to represent the West against the nation’s best quite clear.
“We live for Orlando,” Erin Marley, head coach of the second-seeded Pacific Falcons (Calif.), after her team hung on for a 5-4 win over seventh-seeded Generation Next (Calif.) in a quarterfinal. “We got a little sloppy in the second half, but we got our composure back to finish out the game.”
Indeed, though Jordan Hayes scored twice in the first half to stake the Falcons to a 4-0 lead at the break, the San Diego-based team, which has earned trips to the national championship in previous years, dealt with a pressuring Generation Next defense that forced a number of turnovers in the second half. Generation Next had pulled to within 5-4 with 12 seconds left, but the Falcons won the final draw to advance to a semifinal against third-seeded BearLax 2017 Blue (Calif.). In Orlando, the Falcons will try to replicate a 2010 berth in the national semifinals.
BearLax 2017 Blue dispatched sixth-seeded Stick With It 2017 (Calif.), 6-3, in a hard-fought quarterfinal that was contested until the end but didn’t quite have the nailbiting drama of the teams’ pool play matchup earlier Saturday. BearLax 2017 Blue won that one, 12-11, to clinch the third seed and join top-seeded BearLax2016 Blue as qualifiers for the US Lacrosse U15 National Championship. BearLax 2016 Blue had no problem with eighth-seeded Triple Threat (Calif.).
Fourth-seeded Desert Heat Black (Ariz.) rallied from a 5-3 halftime deficit to edge Coast to Coast Wave (Calif.), 7-6. Alexa Bolton and Logan Hicks each scored twice for Desert Heat Black, which celebrated the win with its younger teams in attendance.
“Logan’s a quick, fast player. She and Alexa Bolton are the hearts of the team,” said Desert Heat Black coach Tyna Murphy. “I’m overwhelmed. This is the first year we qualified for Orlando when we actually had to qualify.”
Desert Heat had previously earned trips via at-large and sportsmanship award bids.
In the boys’ U15 division, seeding also held true to form as the top four teams won quarterfinal games with considerably less drama. Top-seeded Brady’s Bunch (Calif.) will meet fourth seeded Dragon Select (Texas) and second-seeded Colorado 14ers will face third-seeded San Diego All-Stars in semifinals Sunday. Brady’s Bunch allowed just two goals in three pool-play games, and it defeated eighth-seeded AWE Blue, 13-3, in the quarters.
In the lower divisions, most semifinalists are California-based squads, though the Houston U13 girls made it to the final four, as did U13 boys’ teams Maniax (Wash.) and Sawtooth (Idaho).
Sunday games begin at 8 a.m. PT. Championship games are scheduled for 10:30 a.m., after which winning teams will be presented with medals.