WCLA Teams Head to the Rockies
by Brian Logue | LaxMagazine.com
Annette Greenberg and defending national champion Colorado State have moved up to No. 7 in the US Lacrosse WCLA rankings.
© Cecil Copeland
After a weekend in which Colorado lost its No. 1 ranking in the US Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA), the focus of the league heads to the Buffaloes’ home state and its main rival, defending national champion Colorado State. The 7th-ranked Rams host the Rocky Mountain Shootout, a nine-team tournament that includes four Top 10 teams: No. 2 Colorado, No. 6 UC Santa Barbara, No. 8 BYU and the hosts.
Colorado lost just once in last weekend’s A-Town Throwdown, but the topsy-turvy results of that tournament allowed UC Davis Club to move into the No. 1 spot. The Aggies were the only unbeaten team in Athens, Ga., beating Georgia, Lindenwood and Virginia Tech Club to improve to 9-1 for the season.
The biggest mover of the week, however, was Colorado State which jumped six spots to its No. 7 ranking. CSU started the tournament with an 11-10 loss to Virginia Tech Club, but then bounced back with three solid wins, including a big 9-8 win over No. 3 Florida Club, which beat Colorado in Athens. Since going 1-3 at the Santa Barbara Shootout, the Rams have turned the corner by winning five of their last seven games.
“It’s been a pretty interesting season,” said first-year CSU coach Anna Pranger. “At Santa Barbara we had a couple of tough losses and that gave us a little motivation. We came back and did a 180 and worked really hard. Our team has come together a lot and we want to keep this momentum going. Our team keeps getting better and better.”
CSU is no stranger to bouncing back. Last year’s team was the No. 11 seed at the national championship tournament and proceeded to pull off four straight upsets on its way to its second national title in the last three years.
Goalie Annette Greenberg is one of the best in the WCLA and senior Ally Mast helps anchor the defense. Sophomore Maddie Garcia has been a key offensive player, but the strength of the team might be its midfield, which is led by junior Brenna Mefford.
It’s been quite a ride for Pranger, a Colorado native who played club lacrosse at Calvin College in Michigan, and was also a cross country and track athlete. Now in grad school at CSU, she was recruited by Greenberg to coach the team.
“I’m a brand new coach and I told them I wanted as much feedback as possible,” said Pranger. “It’s been really great. Every single practice and every single game I’ve learned something new.”
Pranger has been introduced to CSU’s famed zone defense and has benefitted from some alumni that have come back to help teach the nuances to her and the team. The improvement will be put to the test this weekend as the Rams play five games. The highlight games are Friday against rival BYU and on Saturday against UCSB.
The Rams are certainly no strangers to tough competition. Nine of its 11 games have come against teams ranked in the Top 20 in this week’s WCLA poll. The biggest game of the regular season continues to loom. Rival Colorado will be on the Rams’ campus this week, but they won’t face each other until a regular season game on April 13.
“Everyone is so excited about that game,” said Pranger. “We have very different styles and it will be really interesting to see how that all comes together.”
- Boston College Club and Virginia Club parlayed their appearances in the A-Town Throwdown into national rankings this week. BC’s 13-11 win over Texas helped the Eagles move into the No. 19 spot this week. Virginia had wins over BC and rival Virginia Tech Club to capture the No. 16 spot this week.
- One of the victims of their rise was Minnesota, which dropped out of the poll despite remaining perfect with a 3-0 record. The Gophers get a chance to state their case at the Rocky Mountain Shootout this weekend with games against Michigan State, No. 20 Central Florida, No. 15 Virginia Tech Club and host CSU.
- The top three in the WCLA Division II poll remain the same – Westminster, Chapman and Southern Methodist. Racing into the poll were Penn State Club at No. 6 and Wisconsin-River Falls at No. 7. Neither was ranked last week. The Nittany Lions took Pitt, No. 14 in the WCLA Division I poll, to overtime, beat JMU (then No. 5 in the DII poll) and Miami, Ohio (ranked all year in the DI poll). UW-River Falls opened with big wins over St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth.
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