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Gauchos Top Seeded For WDIA National Championship

Bookmark and Share Printer Friendly Apr. 21, 2009

WDIA Championship LogoBaltimore, MD - The UCSB women's lacrosse team has been awarded the top seed for the upcoming US Lacrosse WDIA National Championship Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona May 6 - 9. The Gauchos finished the regular season 15-2 and followed that with a 3-0 run in the Western Women's Lacrosse League Championship Tournament this past weekend.  The WWLL is one of seven WDIA conferences with an automatic bid this year and UCSB took the AQ spot with a 12-10 win over 3rd ranked Santa Clara in the league championship game.

UCSB, now 18-2 overall, has earned the #1 seed for the second consecutive year. Santa Clara received an at-large spot in the national championship tournament and the #2 overall seed. Santa Clara earned the #2 seed as a result of 2nd ranked Cal Poly SLO dropping a WWLL semifinal game to the Broncos. Santa Clara won 11-10 by scoring three straight goals to come from behind at the end of the game. The Gauchos were 12-11 overtime winners over UCLA in the other semifinal. Cal Poly SLO and UCLA were also awarded at-large bids to the national championship with the Mustangs getting the 5th seed and the Bruins getting the 9th seed despite UCLA trouncing the Mustangs 16-8 in the WWLL third place game.

The Gauchos will be facing the club from West Chester University, 16th seeded in the 16 team field. The Rams are 9-0 and AQ recipients by virtue of winning the ECWLA title. West Chester is undefeated but hasn't played a single ranked opponent. Conversely, UCSB has played twenty games and seventeen of them were against Top 25 teams. UCSB is 4-0 against teams in the Top 5, 6-1 against teams in the Top 10 and 11-2 against teams in the Top 20. It's a matchup that should allow the Gauchos to advance to the quarterfinals with some momentum.

UCSB head coach Paul Ramsey is pleased with the seed and the chances of his team. "We are the most prepared team in the WDIA for this event," commented Ramsey. "We've tested ourselves time and time again without worry about the outcome while focusing on the process."

"That's exactly what a team has to do to win the national championship," added Ramsey. "If you get wrapped up in the outcome before you get to the finish then something in the middle will suffer." 

UCSB can't worry too much about the final outcome of this tournament if they want to advance from round to round. Assuming they can dispatch West Chester they face the winner of the 8th seeded Michigan versus 9th seeded UCLA first round game. Michigan was a 7-6 winner over the Gauchos on February 13th in one of the two UCSB losses on the season. The Wolverines were also winners over UCLA by 1 goal in an 8-7 win on February 15th. Success in the quarterfinal will pit UCSB against the winner of a likely quarterfinal matchup featuring 4th seeded Colorado and 5th seeded Cal Poly SLO.

It might seem unusual to put three teams from the same league on the same side of the bracket in positions that make it most likely they will see each other in the quarterfinals and the semifinals but Ramsey likes it.

"We know UCLA and we know Cal Poly SLO," said Ramsey. "We have video on them playing us and video of them playing other opponents." 

"We don't have that on the higher seeded opponents on the other side of the bracket except for Santa Clara so we can be much more prepared for the quarterfinals and semifinals now than if the other WWLL teams had been placed elsewhere."

The Bruins might be disappointed with their placement. After trouncing Cal Poly SLO just two days ago with a 16-8 run away score UCLA was seeded 9th and faces a Michigan team that bested them. If they win they have to face a UCSB team from their own league that has beaten them twice no matter how well the Bruins played or how big a lead UCLA built during the game. Meanwhile, the Mustangs get 12th seeded Georgia in the first round, a team without the team speed Cal Poly SLO has and that recently placed third in their conference tournament, the SWLL, a lower rated conference than the WWLL. It's as if the WWLL 3rd place game wasn't even played.

"I don't think too many people understand how good UCLA is right now and you certainly can't ignore the recent shellacking they put on Cal Poly on Sunday," said Ramsey about the luck of the Bruins.

"Fortunately for us we know exactly how good UCLA is and we can plan accordingly," concluded Ramsey. "This will be another great game between the two teams if we both advance."

UCSB does play again before flying to Scottsdale. The Gauchos have a solid tune-up game with NCAA DIII Claremont on Friday, May 1st, in a 7:00pm game at UCSB Harder Stadium. Claremont is 9-1 and on the way to their second NCAA post-season appearance, after having advanced to the second round last year. This game puts UCSB in a better position to be sharp for the national championship than at any point in the past.


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