Northern Light Brings Home USL Central Title
by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com
Elisabeth Wallace had three goals to help Northern
Lights (Colo.) win the US Lacrosse U15 Girls' Central Regional
Championship with a 12-9 win over Narwhals Lacrosse (Texas).
© Jim Cowsert
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The girls’ players on
team Northern Lights were trying to douse their coaches in ice
water all weekend after their games in the Texas heat at the US
Lacrosse Lax Fest and U15 Central Regional championships. They
finally got what they wanted on Sunday.
Northern Lights, from Denver, Colo., defeated Narwhals Lacrosse (Texas), 12-9, to win the US Lacrosse U15 Central Regional title at the Patterson Sports Complex. And afterward in the celebration, head coach Brian Wallace and assistant Michael Zinanti voluntarily got down on their knees as players poured the remaining ice and water from their sideline cooler out on the coaches backs.
“Why are you all wet?” Olivia Hayden asked sarcastically after to Wallace.
Hayden, for her part, scored three straight goals with less than 13 minutes left to change the situation from trailing from one goal to leading by two, and give Northern Lights the lead it needed to hold on to win against Narhwals (Texas). For Northern Lights, a seventh- and eighth-grade, 15-player team from the northern part of Denver, it was their first out-of-state tournament championship win.
Northern Lights, along with Narhwals and third-place finisher Texas Outlaws, qualify for the US Lacrosse U15 National Championship, presented by Champion, held July 20-22 for girls as part of the ESPN RISE GAMES at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The team travelled by van 15 hours Thursday from Denver to Arlington, stopping in Kansas and Oklahoma along the way to take lacrosse breaks at rest areas along the highway. Of the ride back on Sunday, which was to begin after briefly stopping back at their hotel to wash up, Wallace said: “It’s going to be a lot more fun now.”
Northern Lights led 8-5 at the half before Narwhals scored three straight in the first eight minutes of the second half to tie it at 8, including two goals when they were down a player because of a three-minute misconduct penalty. But Northern Lights scored the final four goals of the game.
“We talked at halftime about how a three-goal lead could dissipate quickly, and it happened in about two minutes there,” Wallace said. “But the good thing is we know how to handle that because it happened to us yesterday [in an earlier tournament game]. We were prepared for their run.”
They were also prepared to celebrate.
“We’ve tried to do that the whole tournament,” Elisabeth Wallace, who also scored three goals Sunday, said of pouring water on the coaches, one of whom is her father.
“It was a long way to come,” Michael Wallace said of the trip to Arlington, “but it was great for the team to play other teams from the region and different styles.”
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