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February 18, 2010

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Santa Clara's Shaw Finds New Ways to Contribute

by David Ely | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Santa Clara midfielder Krista Shaw leads the Broncos with 18 goals in six games, but she has had to adjust to added defensive pressure.

© Dirk Dewachter

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Things are a little bit tougher for Santa Clara's Krista Shaw this season.

Opposing defenses are coming up with more and more ways to get the ball out of her stick. On other occasions, they simply try to take her out of the Broncos' offensive sets.

But that's to be expected when you enter the season as Lacrosse Magazine's WDIA Preseason Player of the Year. You're not going to be able to anonymously patrol the box anymore, and Shaw has done her best so far this season to adapt to the style teams deploy against her.

"She's hustling. She's playing her role," Santa Clara coach Brendan O'Brien said during last weekend's Santa Barbara Shootout.

"She's getting a lot of double teams, she's getting a lot of shutoffs. She's still about to get two or three goals a game. She's not the goal scorer right now because she's getting shutoff so much, but it's opening things up for other people."

That was the case during the Broncos' 12-6 win over No. 8 Colorado State -- Santa Clara's final match during the highly competitive Shootout.

Shaw scored the game's first goal, but didn't find the back of the cage for the rest of the game.

Sometimes for players that are used to piling up prolific stats, it can be frustrating to see other teams isolate their defensive strategies on them.

But Shaw instead assumed the role of team point guard during the second half. She controlled possession along the top of the box and let her open teammates extend the Broncos' lead.

"I've gotten face guarded in a couple of games, but luckily I've got a team that can score," Shaw said. "So when I'm face guarded, someone else scores for us.

"I try to get it to other players in the middle that can score. If I'm getting shut off at the top, I just try to get low because I know my attack can score."

Santa Clara boasts four players with more than 10 goals through six games. Shaw leads the team with 18. Gracie Binder, Maria Pestana and Maggie Burke have posted 15, 12 and 11 goals, respectively.

The fact that the Broncos have so many capable goal scorers allows Shaw to play within the Santa Clara offense and not feel the need to take games on her own.

"She's doing her role," O'Brien said. "She's not trying to force it."

And then there's that little issue of being named the preseason player of the year.

Asked f the early accolade has changed anything for her this season, Shaw replied, "No. It really hasn't. Our coach always says those things don't really mean anything. You've got to try to prove it on the field."

The way the Broncos have started the season -- 6-0 with wins over two ranked teams -- it looks like Shaw is on her way to doing just that.

"We're playing really well," she said. "We're really coming together. We have seven starting seniors and a really good group of freshman coming off the bench."

WDIA News & Notes

It was a rough weekend for Michigan lacrosse at the Santa Barbara Shootout. The Wolverines, ranked No. 5 in LM's preseason poll, lost all four of their games, and coach Jen Dunbar called the experience "very frustrating." Fortunately for Michigan, the season is still very young, and Dunbar said the problems were essentially fundamental and fixable... Florida experienced two drastically different days of competition at the Shootout. The Gators opened with a 10-9 overtime victory over Colorado State, and then bested BYU 8-6 hours later. But on Saturday, the Gators lost both of their games, 9-8 to UC Santa Barbara and 13-7 to UCLA... No. 1-ranked Virginia Tech Club will begin its season Saturday with two MAWLL matches. The Hokies host Maryland Club and JMU Club.


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