USL at the MCLAs: A Special Visitor
St. John's University and Grand Valley State were victorious in Thursday's Division II semifinals, advancing to Saturday's championship game at 12-noon (PST). Cole and Blake Armitage combined for five goals and two assists to lead the Johnnies to their first championship game since 2007. With a win Saturday, the Johnnies would secure their first national championship in school history. In the other semi, Grand Valley State and St. Thomas were tied at halftime, but the Lakers defense kept St. Thomas scoreless in the second half to secure the second spot in the Division II final. St. John's bounced Grand Valley State from last year's tournament and won their meeting earlier this year, 15-11. The rematch for the title is now set for Saturday.
While there was lacrosse to be played, many in attendance were also fixated on the MCLA's special guest for the evening, Miss California USA Cassandra Kunze, who was on hand to for a ceremonial faceoff to start the Grand Valley State - St. Thomas game, and also to interact with fans.
In the D-1 semifinals, UC Santa Barbara controlled the opening game early, but Colorado proved to be too strong and quick in transition as the Buffs rallied for a 12-10 victory. Colorado reaches the championship game for the second consecutive year, and will play Arizona State, which beat Chapman 10-5 in the nightcap.
The stands were filled with a raucous crowd of Chapman students and alums, many dressed in Panther black. Nevertheless, Arizona State scored first and maintained a slim 4-3 lead at halftime. With the game knotted at four, ASU scored twice in the matter of 11 seconds to take the lead and ultimately to claim the win, earning its first trip to the national championship game since 2011. Saturday's Division I final, scheduled for 3 p.m. PST, will mark the final game for ASU Head Coach Chris Malone.
Friday is another off day for the remaining teams as they prepare for Saturday's championship games. A dinner for the championship participants will take place at Peninsula Park in Newport Beach Friday evening. The 2014 US Lacrosse MCLA Godekeraw Awards will be presented to the Division I and Division II Players of the Year at the dinner ceremony. This year's finalists are:
Division I Godekeraw Finalists
Louie Dedonatis, LSM, Grand Canyon University , Junior
Division II Godekeraw Finalists
Daniel Casselli, Attack, Grove City College, Junior