David Ely's WDIA Season-End Wrap-Up
by David Ely | Special to Lacrosse Magazine
Whew! What a ride this US Lacrosse Women's Division Intercollegiate Associates (WDIA) season has been.
It feels like just a couple of weeks ago that I was at the Santa Barbara Shootout, talking to coaches about their expectations for the coming season.
That was a time of optimism for some, and the beginning of a disappointing year for others.
I remember seeing Colorado State struggle to keep up with Santa Clara on the final day of the Shootout. The Rams lost, 12-6, just two days after getting blown out by UC Davis Club by a score of 18-4.
Ask me after that weekend to pick a national champion, and the Rams would have been near the bottom of my list.
Good thing no one asked me to make a prediction then.
Colorado State rode a suffocating defense to four straight wins last week in Scottsdale, Ariz., and claimed its second national title in three years with a 6-4 victory over Cal Poly in the WDIA national championship game.
Here's a nod to the 2010 season with a couple of awards, honors and dubious distinctions.
Biggest surprise: Colorado State
It’s tough to say that a team winning its second title in
three years is a shock, but think about these Rams: They were the
tournament’s No. 11 seed: a seeding that’s for
one-and-dones, not champs.
All four of their wins were “upsets.” They beat No. 6 seed and defending national champ Virginia Tech Club in the first round, No. 3 UCSB in the quarters, No. 2 Lindenwood in the semis and then No. 5 Cal Poly in the finals.
CSU senior Kristen Kasney summed up her team's run best when she told LMO’s Brian Logue, “This was really exciting to win because we weren’t expecting it.”
Neither were we, Kristen.
Biggest disappointment: Santa Clara
When you’re the No. 1 seed, anything shot of a title is a disappointment. But not even making the national title game? Well, that could be called a failure.
The Broncos lost in the quarterfinals to No. 9 seed Colorado 12-9. That was just Santa Clara’s second loss of the season, but it came at the worst possible time.
What failed Santa Clara during WDIA Nationals was its defense.
The Broncos’ back unit showed signs of slippage in its first -ound win over West Chester Club. Santa Clara gave up seven goals to the No. 16 seed, and then Colorado lit up the Broncos for 12 goals in the quarterfinals.
Broncos coach Brendan O’Brien had said throughout the season that his team was better this year because of a greater commitment on the defensive end.
The effort wasn’t there last week, and it cost the Broncos.
Best predictions: Me
What can I say? When I get something right, I like to revel in it a little bit.
Before the WDIA Nationals started I picked two different teams that could be sleepers. My first dark horse was No. 9 Colorado.
Here’s what I said about the Buffaloes in my April 21 Bracket Breakdown:
“Nearly a month ago, it didn’t look like the Buffaloes had more than a 50-50 shot at making Nationals. They were 5-5 and had lost four of their last five games. Fast forward, and now the Buffaloes are riding a four-game winning streak with victories over highly-ranked UCLA and No. 11 Colorado State. A second-round matchup against the No. 1 Broncos would be must-see lacrosse.”
And what did Colorado do? The Buffs went out and beat No. 1 Santa Clara, and made it to the semifinals.
My other dark horse was No. 5 Cal Poly.
From a story on May 5:
“Who looks to be the prime dark horse candidate in this week’s US Lacrosse WDIA National Championship, presented by Harrow Sports, in Scottsdale, Ariz.? Signs point to No. 5 seed Cal Poly, which once won seven straight WDIA national championships before falling the last two years.”
The Mustangs advanced all the way to the WDIA finals before losing to Colorado State.
So kudos to Colorado and Cal Poly for making me look smart … for once.
Biggest winner: Parity
Yeah, I know. Parity is a cliché, and an easy one at that. But it was the story of the regular season and certainly of the postseason. We had a No. 11 seed beat a No. 5 seed for the national title. The No. 1 and No. 3 seeds bowed out in the second round.
This year was about how every team in the top 12 could win on
any given day. And you know what? That’s a good thing for the
Lacrosse at the WDIA level continues to grow and evolve each year. The more teams that have a realistic shot at Nationals and at a title shows that the sport is growing in popularity and in skill level.
I hope that next year instead of parity being limited to the top 12, it encompasses the top 20.
2010 was a great year of college club women's lacrosse; here’s to 2011 being even better.
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