Club Women

May 10, 2009

WDIA: VT's Team-Minded Approach Pays off in Title

by Clare Lochary | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Virginia Tech players celebrate their 17-9 victory in the WDIA national championship game Sunday over Colorado.

© Steve DeMeo

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Good times never seemed so good for the Virginia Tech club women's lacrosse team.

The No. 6 seed Hokies beat No. 4 seed Colorado, 17-9, in the 2009 WDIA National Championship on Saturday. A 7-0 run to start the game gave the Hokies an early bounce, and lockdown defense preserved the lead as the student-coached team claimed its first national title. After claiming their trophy, the Tech players sang and danced to the strains of "Sweet Caroline," the favorite song of teammate Erika Bury, a senior defender who missed the season due to leukemia treatments and served as an inspiration during their championship run.

"Colorado is known for coming out and getting up 3-0 really fast, and we wanted to avoid that. Whatever the score was, we just kept saying, 'It's 0-0,'" said student-coach Alex Kazlausky.

Briana Warner led the Hokies with three goals and two assists; goalie Megan Waters had eight saves.

Junior attacker Briana Beach (3g, 1a) opened the scoring, putting a nifty left-handed sidearm shot past Colorado keeper Katherine Mulligan (three saves). Beach's goal kicked off the seven unanswered goals that the struggling Buffs were unable to overcome. Virginia Tech also dominated draw controls and milked long possessions that culminated in quality shots.

"We came out flat. I think we left it all on the field last night (in the semifinals) and didn't have anything left," said Colorado head coach Kaitlin Moore.

Amber Lister (2g) finally got the Buffs on the scoreboard at 13:24 on a penalty shot. Tech freshman defender Megan McDonough largely neutralized Amy Long (2g), who is typically the heart of the Colorado attack. Rebecca Greene led the Buffs with three goals, but two of them came during the last 27 seconds of the game, when the Hokies had a comfortable lead and were watching the clock more than the field.

"We wanted to be composed, but with intensity," said student-coach Mindy Sartori. Sartori, a senior midfielder, was disqualified from the match when she picked up a second yellow card halfway through the second period, but kept her cool on the sidelines as she guided her squad to victory. Her calm demeanor was typical of Tech's team-minded approach to the game.

In addition to winning the title, the Hokies avenged a 9-7 loss to Colorado in February. That game was played in an unlikely snowstorm in Atlanta after just three practices; this one went down in the desert heat after a season full of surprises good and bad.

"Last year in Denver, we saw Colorado State win and we said, ‘That could be us next year.' But I don't think we really believed it," said Sartori.

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