Upset City: Top Three Seeds Fall in WCLA Quarterfinals
by Brian Logue | LaxMagazine.com
UCLA defenders Isabel Angell and Michelle Rice celebrate. The Bruins upset No. 1 Colorado 11-7 to advance to the semifinals.
© Cecil Copeland
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – On a night when upsets ruled the US Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA) Division I National Championship, none was bigger than UCLA knocking off top-ranked Colorado 11-7 in the quarterfinal round. UCLA advances to Friday’s semifinals where it will meet league rival Santa Clara, an 18-10 winner over Cal Poly.
The other semifinal will pit two more upset winners: No. 7 UCSB and No. 6 Colorado State. UCSB upset No. 2 Florida Club 12-11 in overtime and Colorado State, last year’s national champion, overcame a big early hole to beat No. 3 UC-Davis Club 12-9.
Santa Clara, the No. 4 seed, is the highest remaining seed in the tournament, which is par for the course at the WCLA national championship. Colorado State won last year’s championship as a No. 11 seed and Virginia Tech Club won in 2009 as a No. 6 seed.
UCLA, back in the tournament after missing out on a bid last year, certainly wasn’t fazed by a seed number.
“What we have constantly been telling our team is if you look at the top teams in this tournament, anything is possible,” said UCLA head coach Shanta Loecker. “As long as they went in with that attitude, then that would be true.”
Colorado came into the game with a 16-1 record, but had played a number of close games through the season. The first half, however, was hardly close. UCLA jumped on the Buffaloes, taking a 7-1 lead after 30 minutes of play. Freshman Courtney Randall had three goals in the half, but the story was defense.
“Our defense decided to click today,” said Loecker. “We’ve been working on a lot of details with that defense. It’s kind of a high-pressure defense and it doesn’t always work, but today it did. I think it threw them off their game a little bit and they weren’t really to set up their offense the way they’re used to. They made some good adjustments at halftime, but the first half, our defense just shut it down.”
Colorado came out strong in the second half to cut the UCLA lead to 8-6 with plenty of time, 16:09, remaining in the game, but UCLA withstood the charge. Colorado’s Andie Solomon scored her second goal of the game with 11:31 to play to make it 9-7 UCLA, but that would be the last goal of the game until UCLA scored two empty-netters in the final minute as Colorado tried to double-team the ball with its goalie.
UCLA goalie Devon Comito made 13 saves to record the victory and Allie Simpson led the Bruins with four goals. Solomon’s two led Colorado.
The wildest game of the night was UCSB knocking off Florida 12-11 in overtime. Florida had a great look in the final minute of the second overtime period, but UCSB goalie Jeni Center came up with her 12th save of the night and that led to a transition opportunity the other way. Sophomore Katie Mitchell streaked in from the right side and buried the game-winner with 29 seconds to play. Florida won the ensuing draw, but a quick stick check gave the Gauchos the ball and they ran out the clock.
It took some late heroics from UCSB star Ashley Antoon-Algieri to force the overtime. Antoon-Algieri was fouled on a drive to the goal and was awarded a free position shot. She nailed it with just 18 seconds left in regulation to force the overtime. Antoon-Algieri scored seven goals, her second straight night with seven tallies.
Brittini Peck led Florida with three goals and two assists and Jenna Hildebrand also had three goals for the Gators.
UC-Davis blitzed defending national champion Colorado State out of the gates, leading 6-1 with 11 minutes remaining in the first half, but Colorado State quickly chipped away at the Aggies lead. CSU scored the final five goals of the first half to tie it 6-6 at the break.
UC-Davis’ final goal game at the 21:08 mark of the game, a tally by Jessica Dresser that tied the game 9-9. CSU’s Brenna Mefford and Hayley Bernstein answered with goals just 29 seconds apart and Bernstein later scored her fifth goal of the game to close out the scoring. Bernstein’s five led the Rams and Mefford and Sarah Moyer also added two goals. UC-Davis’ Jacklyn Taylor, the WCLA Player of the Year, was playing on an injured ankle, but still led the Aggies with three goals.
Santa Clara had a much easier time of things, beating league rival Cal Poly 18-10. Leading 8-5 at the break, Santa Clara scored the first five goals of the second half to deny Cal Poly a trip to the national championship game for just the second time in the event’s 11-year history. Cal Poly won seven straight titles from 2001 to 2007, and was the runner-up in 2008 and 2010.
One night after scoring tournament record 11 goals, Santa Clara’s Maggie Burked added five more to lead the Broncos. Gracie Binder (3g, 5a) and Maria Pestana (2g, 6a) each had eight points for the Broncos. Pestana’s six assists tied a tournament record set by Colorado State’s Lindsay Brown in 2006 against Minnesota-Duluth. Adrian Holland and Emily DeSimone each had three goals for Cal Poly.
In the consolation round games, Pittsburgh poured in 20 goals to beat Washington 20-3. Alison Russel led the Panthers with five goals and three assists. Kristin Branton had a goal and an assist for Washington.
Texas rode some great goaltending from Jordan Cook to beat Minnesota 9-4. Cook made 13 saves and held the Gophers scoreless for the first 44 minutes of the game. Clayton Crum had two goals and an assist for the Longhorns. Ashlee Miller had two goals for Minnesota.
Michigan took care of Midland, 20-3. Ani Shekerjian had five goals for the Wolverines and Rachel Killian had four goals and an assist. Mikinzie Renning, Jenna Turcotte and Rylee Moore-Ryberg all scored for Midland.
Lindenwood’s Lexi Crusha had a big night with four goals and four assists to lead the Lions past Boston College Club 16-9. Meghan Goff and Shannon Jurgens each had two goals for BC.
Friday’s Division I Schedule
No. 4 Santa Clara vs. No. 9 UCLA, 6 p.m.
No. 6 Colorado State vs. No. 7 UCSB, 8 p.m.
No. 14 Washington vs. No. 15 Minnesota, 9 a.m.
No. 13 Boston College Club vs. No. 16 Midland, 9 a.m.
No. 10 Texas vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh, 9:30 a.m.
No. 5 Lindenwood vs. No. 8 Michigan, 9:30 a.m.
No. 2 Florida Club vs. No. 3 UC-Davis Club, 11:30 a.m.
No. 1 Colorado vs. No. 12 Cal Poly, 11:30 a.m.
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