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Gauchos to take on Athenas

Bookmark and Share Printer Friendly Apr. 28, 2009

Matty Evoy-MountSanta Barbara, CA - UCSB will be hosting the NCAA DIII women's lacrosse team from Claremont Colleges on Friday night in a battle of bragging rights for the Southwestern United States. The game is at 7:00pm in Harder Stadium. The Gauchos are 18-2 and top ranked in the WDIA. Claremont is 12-1 and the top ranked NCAA DIII team in the NCAA west region in the most recently released rankings (released April 22nd when Claremont was 10-1). 

UCSB was successful at Claremont on February 3, 2008 in a pre-season game with the Athenas last year. The Gauchos won 12-10 after leading 12-6 late in the second half. Both teams are play-off bound this year. UCSB qualified for the WDIA National Championship Tournament by winning the Western Women's Lacrosse League  (WWLL) championship game 12-10 over Santa Clara on April 19th. Claremont has consecutive NCAA DIII post-season appearances to their credit, advancing to the second round in 2008 with a 19-17 first round win over Ohio Wesleyan on May 7, 2008 before dropping a 12-3 game to College of New Jersey, an eventual semifinal appearance team, on May 10, 2008. In 2007 Claremont qualified for the NCAA's and lost 15-9 at Colorado College in a first round game. UCSB also has consecutive post-season appearances on their resume making it a great cross-division game for the end of the regular season for both teams.

"We had a strong 20 minutes at the start of the second half at Claremont last year to go up 12-6 and then worked everyone into the game for experience," commented UCSB head coach Paul Ramsey about the contest last season.

"They will be sharper at this point of the season and I expect we will see a few more set plays from their offense and an aggressive defense," added Ramsey. "They are not going to sit back and protect the goal, they will come after us."

The game serves as a tune-up for both squads as they enter the post-season so the timing couldn't be better. UCSB is in the middle of what would otherwise be a 15 day stretch of just practicing if there were no Claremont matchup on the horizon. The Athenas are in the middle of outscoring their opponents 239 to 137 with an even more lopsided 126-56 total score against Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) foes. Claremont finished undefeated in SCIAC play with a 19-8 win over University of Redlands on  April 30th. They are now waiting to hear from the NCAA selection committee whether they get a first round home game or have to hit the road and travel. UCSB flies to Arizona on Tuesday, May 5th, and starts WDIA Championship play on Wednesday with a first round game against the club from West Chester University.

In an interesting twist on the game with the Athenas the Ramsey coached UCSB team will be facing a Claremont team that includes three players he took on a trip to China and Japan in June 2008. Katie Campbell-Morrison, Courtney Cronin and Kaitlyn Desai played for the Ramsey led USA California team that went 11-4 playing in the International Friendship Games in Beijing, Tokyo and Sapporo June 16th - 30th. Additional Claremont players, Colbi Brawner, Jen Cohen and Shelly Sheinbein, were regulars at summer camps directed by Ramsey through his East West Sports Camps company.


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