Desert Duo: CSU Wins Back-to-Back USL WCLA National Championships
by Brian Logue | LaxMagazine.com
Colorado State beat UCLA for its third US Lacrosse WCLA National Championship in the last four years.
© Cecil Copeland
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – She wore pink, but it wasn’t for style. Colorado State’s Maddie Garcia had strips of pink tape running down her injured right shoulder, trying to hold it together. She left the game once, dragging her shoulder as she came off the field, but she played through it. And she played well.
“I tore my labral tendon and then fractured my humerus, so it’s a little bit painful,” said Garcia, who battled the injury all tournament. “But it’s good now.”
The feeling of a championship will do that. Garcia’s four goals helped lead Colorado State over UCLA 11-9 in the US Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA) Division I National Championship game. It was Colorado State’s second consecutive national championship, and third in the last four years.
“This team has more heart than any team I know,” said first-year Colorado State coach Anna Pranger.
The Rams had to win the game without senior All-American defender Ally Mast. Mast was issued two yellow cards in CSU’s semifinal win over UCSB on Friday night, so she had to sit out her team’s next game – which happened to be the national championship game in her senior year. The entire team wrote the No. 20 on their shoulders in support of Mast.
“We said last night that we were going to win the game for her,” said senior goalie Annette Greenberg. “That’s the main reason we wanted to win. She was an All-American, one of our best defenders, senior. We just wanted to win the game for her.”
CSU’s previous two championships came from defense, but UCLA seemed to find the answer in the first half. After falling behind 5-2 early, UCLA scored the final five goals of the first half to take a 7-5 halftime lead. Morgan Oberstein, who had seven goals in UCLA’s Friday night win over Santa Clara, stayed hot and did most of the damage, scoring four goals.
CSU went scoreless for the final 19 minutes of the first half, but stormed out of the gates to start the second half. Hayley Bernstein scored less than two minutes into the second half. Just 37 seconds later, Garcia tied the game. Cara Gulbronson and Garcia added goals over the next five minutes and CSU was back in front with a 9-7 lead and 22 minutes to play.
Bernstein added another goal with just over seven minutes to play, and the Rams defense stayed tough with Greenberg making four second half saves. UCLA was held scoreless for nearly 25 minutes in the second half. The Bruins finally broke through when freshman Kelley McCarroll-Gilbert scored with 5:04 left to cut the lead to 10-8.
CSU won the ensuing draw and went into a stall, forcing UCLA to extend its defense. Garcia then blew past her defender to a wide open middle of the field and scored her fourth with 3:20 left to give the Rams a three-goal lead again.
McCarroll-Gilbert added another goal at the 2:16 mark, and UCLA had two more good scoring opportunities in the final two minutes, but couldn’t convert.
McCarroll-Gilbert and Oberstein each had four goals for UCLA, as did Garcia and Bernstein for CSU.
In consolation games on Saturday, Santa Clara topped UCSB 18-13 to win the 3rd place game. Maggie Burke and Mayan Zeitlin each had five goals for Santa Clara while Maria Pestana had six assists and Gracie Binder added five. Katie Mitchell led the Gauchos with five goals and a pair of assists.
UC-Davis Club beat Cal Poly 12-10 in the 5th place game. Jacklyn Taylor assisted Louise Marquino on the go-ahead goal with 6:19 to play and then sealed it on her third goal of the game with 3:02 remaining. Marquino and Jessica Dresser also had three goals for the Aggies. Freshman Emily DeSimone led Cal Poly with four goals.
Florida Club beat Colorado 6-5 in the 7th place game. Florida was held scoreless for the final 14 minutes, but Marissa Higgins made eight saves to make its six goals stand up. Brittini Peck had four for the Gators. Sarah Shea had three for Colorado, including a goal with 2:05 left the pulled the Buffs to within one.
Michigan beat Texas 11-10 in the 9th place game. Ani Shekerjian broke a 10-10 tie with 2:51 left in the game and the Wolverines ran out the clock. Texas had one final possession after Shekerjian's goal, but turned it over. Samantha Zetlin had five goals and an assist for the Wolverines. Clayton Crum led Texas with two goals and an assist.
Pitt beat Lindenwood 12-8 in the 11th place game. Maggie Stankaitis and Kristina Hahn each scored four for the Panthers while Justiene Groothuis had three goals and an assist for Lindenwood.
Boston College Club beat Washington 13-12 in the 13th place game. Shannon Jurgens led BC with five goals and Catherine Crowe broke a 12-12 tie, scoring the game-winner with 2:54 to play. Nicole Wimsatt led Washington with four goals.
Minnesota beat Midland in the place game. Lindsay Lewis led the Gophers with three goals and two assists and Rylee Moore-Ryberg led Midland with two goals.
US Lacrosse WCLA Division I All-Tournament Team
Shannon Jurgens, A, Boston College
Emily DeSimone, A, Cal Poly
Taylor Haverty, D, Colorado
Hayley Bernstein, M, Colorado State
Maddie Garcia, A, Colorado State
Annette Greenberg, G, Colorado State
Marissa Higgins, G, Florida
Lexi Crusha, A, Lindenwood
Jamee Jacobson, D, Michigan
Sammi Wilson, D, Midland
Lindsay Lewis, M, Minnesota
Alison Russel, A, Pittsburgh
Maggie Burke, M, Santa Clara
Renee Eligio, G, Santa Clara
Maria Pestana, A, Santa Clara
Kimberly Milling, D, Texas
Sophia Coysh, D, UC-Davis
Devon Comito, G, UCLA
Michelle Rice, D, UCLA
Allie Roe, M, UCLA
Blaire Evans, M, UCSB
Jessica Swarts, G, Washington
Championship Game Most Outstanding Players
Most Outstanding Player – Hayley Bernstein, Colorado
MOP, Attack – Maddie Garcia, Colorado State
MOP, Midfield – Morgan Oberstein, UCLA
MOP, Defense – Allie Steinberg, UCLA
MOP, Goalie – Annette Greenberg, Colorado State
Team Sportsmanship Award