UCLA, CSU to Meet for WCLA Title
UCLA was all smiles after a come-from-behind 14-13 overtime win against Santa Clara.
© Cecil Copeland
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Last year, Colorado State came into the US Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA) Division I National Championship with a No. 11 seed and a nothing-to-lose attitude. They danced at halftime of games and four days later, had won a national championship.
UCLA came into this year’s championship with a No. 9 seed, and, shall we say, a nothing-to-lose attitude? Three days later, they’re in the national title game, and the only thing standing in their way is…Colorado State.
UCLA reached the final with a wild 14-13 double-overtime comeback win over Santa Clara while Colorado State had its own anxious moments before beating UCSB 10-7. They’ll meet for the national title on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Scottsdale Sports Complex.
Santa Clara completely dominated the first half of play against UCLA, moving out to a 9-4 lead in a game that didn’t even feel that close. But UCLA regrouped, and as they broke their halftime huddle, one of the players simply said, “Believe it.”
The Bruins scored two straight to open the half, but even after Santa Clara matched those scores to retake a five-goal lead a 11-6 wit 23:02 to play, UCLA never wavered.
“I can honestly tell you, there was not a second of that game when I thought we were going to lose,” said UCLA coach Shanta Loecker.
UCLA freshman Kelley McCarroll-Gilbert, who called the game “nerve-wracking” scored two goals just 44 seconds apart to pull the Bruins to within 11-8 midway through the second half, but the scored stayed that way for nearly 10 more minutes.
Finally, with six minutes to go, Morgan Oberstein scored to cut
it to two. Then Courtney Randall cut it to one and with 1:56 left,
Oberstein again connected to tie the game 11-11.
It looked like it was all going to be for naught. Santa Clara’s Maggie Burke scored with just 33 seconds left, ending a 22-plus minute scoring drought for the Broncos and they retook the lead 12-11.
UCLA’s Antoinette Brou won the ensuing draw and got the ball to McCarroll-Gilbert. She took the ball from the left wing, made a couple of moves and beat her defender and found herself wide open in front of the goal. She scored – her sixth goal of the game – to tie the score with just 15 seconds left to force overtime.
UCLA struck first in the overtime on a goal by Oberstein that gave the Bruins their first lead of the game, but Burke also got her sixth goal for Santa Clara to send it into sudden victory overtime. Oberstein again came through, taking a pass from behind the cage from Randall and scored her seventh goal of the game to send UCLA to the title game.
“It felt pretty unreal,” said Oberstein, a junior from San Diego. “We didn’t have any doubts the whole game. This whole season, every time we step into the draw control it’s zero to zero. Being down, we’ve been there before.”
UCLA’s opponent will be Colorado State, which won the national championship last year. But this is a vastly different Ram team. CSU suffered heavy graduation losses from a stellar senior class.
“Last year, the seniors were controlling everything,” said sophomore Hayley Bernstein. “They taught us all so much and now they’re gone. They’ve still been a part of this season and this team. They’re helping us out. They call us to congratulate us and just being there for everyone.”
Moral support is one thing, but doing it on the field is another, and Bernstein has stepped up to fill the gap, drawing praise from her coach, Anna Pranger.
Hayley Bernstein had six goals as Colorado State beat UCSB 10-7 to advance to the WCLA championship game for the third time in the last four years.
© Cecil Copeland
Bernstein scored four goals in the first half to help CSU to a 6-3 cushion over UCSB, but the Gauchos steadily chipped away. It looked like momentum was fully swinging UCSB’s way when Ashley Antoon-Algieri scored a transition goal with 12:50 to play that tied the game 6-6.
It was Antoon-Algieri’s first of the game after she had scored seven in each of UCSB’s first two victories. It also came with CSU playing down a player due to three yellow cards in the game.
But Bernstein was up for the challenge. With 9:11 to go, she scored CSU’s first goal of the half to give the Rams a 7-6 edge. Just 47 seconds later, Caroline Freyschlag scored to stretch the lead to two. UCSB cut it to one on a goal by Alyssa Nelsen, but again Bernstein stepped up. Her sixth goal of the game gave CSU a two-goal cushion with 4:33 remaining and Freyschlag added an insurance goal in the final minute.
In consolation action on Friday, Ashley Royer scored in overtime to lift Cal Poly over Colorado 10-9. Amanda Nespor had four goals in the win and Avery Toothman had three for Colorado.
UC-Davis Club beat Florida Club 12-10 behind four goals from Rachel Lee. Brittini Peck had four for the Gators.
Jordan Cook made 14 saves and held Pitt scoreless for the final nine minutes of the game as Texas won 12-11. Clayton Crum had four goals and an assist for Texas while Christa Lausten and Alison Russel each had three for Pitt.
Michigan beat its old Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse League rival Lindenwood 14-13. Julianne Patterson, Jess Stanley, Britt Boehm and Samantha Zeitlin all scored three for Michigan. Lexi Crusha had three goals and four assists for Lindenwood and Kara Chasen had four goals. Brittany Frankenfeld made 15 saves for Lindenwood.
Washington won a shootout with Minnesota, beating the Gophers 22-21 as goalie Jessica Swarts made a save in the final seconds to preserve the win. Angie Anderson had four goals for the Huskies while Lindsay Lewis lead Minnesota with six.
Boston College Club got six goals from Catherine Crowe and defeated Midland 19-1. Alexis Morris scored Midland’s goal.
Saturday’s Division I Schedule
Championship: No. 6 Colorado State vs. No. 9 UCLA, 1 pm
3rd place game: No. 4 Santa Clara vs. No. 7 UCSB, 10:30 am
5th place game: No. 2 UC-Davis Club vs. No. 12 Cal Poly, 10:30 am
7th place game: No. 1 Colorado vs. No. 3 Florida Club, 8 am
9th place game: No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 10 Texas, 8 am
11th place game: No. 5 Lindenwood vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh, 8 am
13th place game: No. 13 Boston College Club vs. No. 14 Washington, 8 am
15th place game: No. 15 Minnesota vs. No. 16 Midland, 8 am