Pittsburgh was not to be denied in its quest for the 2019 WCLA D-I National Championship, although both Delaware and Mother Nature put up a valiant effort.
At the end of the day, the Panthers overcame both opponents, just like the 18 prior ones they faced this season, and posted a 15-11 victory over the Blue Hens to secure the program’s second national championship.
Pittsburgh finished 19-0, becoming the second straight member of the WWLL to cap an undefeated season with the WCLA title. Michigan accomplished the same feat last year.
“Something just felt good and right and special about this team right from the beginning,” said senior goalie Katie Honebrink, who finished with nine saves and was named the tournament’s most outstanding goalie.
A tightly contested first half featured five ties and was knotted 6-6 at halftime. Attacker Caitlin Smith scored four times to lead Delaware, while Pitt’s Allison Macrae tallied three goals for the Panthers.
Pitt started the second half on a 3-1 run, which included Macrae’s fourth tally of the game. Attacker Bethany Dubick had just scored her second goal for Pitt at 17:26 when play was suspended due to severe weather.
Pitt’s two-goal lead at the time of suspension was the largest lead either team had enjoyed to that point. Play finally resumed following a delay of just over two hours, during which time the players entertained themselves in the locker room.
“We just tried to keep each other hyped during that time,” said Macrae, “by playing music and doing some dancing.”
“It was a dance party in there,” said Pitt coach Kevin Tidgewell.
Despite the hyping, it was Delaware that came storming back following the break, scoring twice in a span of 29 seconds to knot the score at 9-9 with 14:03 left. It was the seventh tie of the game, but it would also be the last.
Four straight goals by Pitt followed, capped by back-to-back markers by senior co-captain Hannah Kendrick, who finished with two goals and two assists. Delaware responded once again with two goals to pull to within two at 13-11, but the Hens would get no closer.
Macrae closed the scoring with her fifth and sixth goals of the game in the final three minutes, and the Panther dancing soon resumed.
“This is such a huge team win because we always play as one,” said Macrae, named the tournament’s most outstanding attacker. “We all push each other, but there’s never any negativity. We just wanted to finish it today.”
Caitlin Smith led Delaware with five goals, with midfielder Jullian Leonard adding three. Delaware finished with a 12-3 final record, with two of its losses coming against Pitt.
The fact that the Blue Hens had defeated Pitt in the 2017 final still lingered with some of the Panthers’ upperclassmen.
“That was one of the worst days of my life, but today is one of the best days of my life,” said Kendrick. “We have ten seniors, and this is an amazing way to finish.”
Evidently, the second time is just as sweet as the first.
That was the consensus among the members of the Loyola Maryland Club team as they celebrated their second consecutive US Lacrosse WCLA D-II Championship, secured with a 13-6 victory over Navy Club in Virginia Beach on Saturday.
The Greyhounds jumped out fast, using three first half goals from Elizabeth Murphy to build a 6-1 lead while dominating possession time. The quick start was a priority following Friday’s early 5-0 hole in the semifinal game against Utah State.
“Yesterday was a little scary, so we didn’t want that early deficit again,” said co-captain Claire Berry.
Navy tried to rally as the second half started, getting an early goal by Darby Maguire, but Loyola never let up. Displaying patience on offense, the Greyhounds created high percentage scoring chances and converted their opportunities.
Following Navy’s early second half goal, Loyola netted six of the next eight goals, including two each from All-American attacker Michaela Smith and midfielder Ashley Llewellyn.
The anticipation of hoisting the championship trophy once again started becoming a reality when Cameron Cyr converted a free position goal with 8:05 remaining, building the lead to 12-4.
“We just focused on playing our game and doing the little things like hustling after groundballs and keeping the ball moving on offense,” said Smith, who finished with three goals, two assists, and was named the tournament’s most outstanding attacker.
After dropping its only game of the year against Navy on March 23, Loyola defeated the Midshipmen in both the MAWLL league final and again in the national championship game. The Greyhounds finish 14-1 overall with a season-ending 10-game winning streak.
“This is sweet because we felt like we had a target on our back all season,” said defender Jenna Siegelbaum. “Coming off last year’s championship, everybody seemed to play their best against us.”
Navy was led by Cheyenne Coughlin and Jessica Mazzeo, who tallied two goals apiece. The two juniors were also instrumental in reviving Navy’s club program after a 10-year hiatus from the WCLA ranks. The Mids finish the year 9-4 overall.
Loyola is now 20-6 all-time in WCLA Tournament play, with the most wins of any D-II program. After runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2017, the Greyhounds now own back-to-back titles.
“This was such a team effort. That’s the beauty of being a player-coached team,” said co-captain Joanna Messina, the tournament’s most outstanding defender. “We’re here for the fun.”
Welcome to the Women's Collegiate Lacrosse Associates website, a communication tool for student-athletes, coaches, fans and interested spectators to know more about our college club lacrosse league. Our WCLA league website was designed and will be utilized to provide a communication highway for teams competing across the continental United States. We hope the website provides you with the information you are seeking because it's the mission of the WCLA to promote the growth of women's lacrosse nationwide. Specifically, the WCLA strives to provide an infrastructure in which collegiate clubs will compete and eventually crown a national champion. Leadership opportunities exist on the local, regional and national levels as WCLA is a representation of teams at all levels. WCLA members are then encouraged to give back to the lacrosse community by joining the umpiring, coaching and post-collegiate club communities. The WCLA is a division of US Lacrosse. As you know, it is mandatory this year to register with the national WCLA website and to enter your games, roster, home field and any other vital information that might assist those trying to find you. The entire process is painless and takes less than an hour. We hope you find the site useful.
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