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UCSB Moves On To WWLL Final With 10-9 Win over Cal Poly SLO

Box Score

Bookmark and Share Printer Friendly Apr. 17, 2010

UCSB vs. Cal Poly SLO in WWLL SemifinalsLos Angeles, CA - UCSB won 10-9 over 4th ranked Cal Poly SLO in a Western Women's Lacrosse League Championship Tournament semifinal at UCLA to advance to the championship game on Sunday. The 5th ranked Gauchos will face 1st ranked Santa Clara at 2:00pm for the WWLL Championship and the automatic qualifier spot to the WDIA National Championship Tournament in Scottsdale May 5th - 8th. The Broncos were 16-8 winners over 3rd ranked UC Davis in the other WWLL semifinal. The top 6 of 8 seeds in the WWLL Tournament are ranked in the top 16 nationally. It is the most competitive league tournament in the land.

The Gauchos led 6-4 at the end of the first half in the WWLL semifinal with Cal Poly with aggressive redefending and a possession offense looking for good scoring opportunities. Five different Gauchos contributed in the scoring in the first half. Then the Mustangs came out of the break and scored three unaswered goals to get up 7-6 in less than 4 minutes. UCSB responded with a goal on an assist from senior Sam Lutz (San Diego, CA) to junior Alyssa Nelsen (Denver, CO) to tie it 7-7 two minutes later but then Cal Poly scored two more goals to take a 9-7 lead. When a Cal Poly midfielder pulled the last UCSB defender to her on a fastbreak and dished the ball to attacker Amanda Nespor the sophomore buried it to give her team the 9-7 lead with 15:49 remaining in the game. But that was the last goal UCSB allowed the Mustangs to score.

Down by two goals and the hopes of being in position to get a three-peat fading, but not yet dim, the Gauchos clamped down on Cal Poly and gutted out ground balls like there was no tomorrow. There wouldn't have been, at least for the hope to be in the hunt tomorrow for a third straight WWLL Championship, without the gutty play. It took a lot of defense but 7 minutes later Lutz fed sophomore Megan Dawe (Martinez, CA) coming in hot on a cut from the top and the midfielder nailed it to pull UCSB to within 1 goal with 8:57 left. It was Lutz's 4th assist of the game. Senior Maggie Aker (Oakland, CA) scored unassisted a little more than a minute later and the game was tied 9-9. 

Five minutes of great defense by both sides and multiple saves by both goal keepers had many watching the game thinking about overtime. Then Nelsen was fouled on a scoring play during a drive down the alley. When play was halted and the shot was awarded it was on a wide angle hash. Non-plussed, the midfielder worked her way in a few steps before stinging one past everyone and into the net. The Gauchos were up 10-9 with 2:46 left in the game. 

"With the two offenses that were out there that's enough time for 5 goals," said UCSB head coach Paul Ramsey later after the game. "Anything could have happened from there with that much time."

What happened was the UCSB defense forced a Cal Poly shot wide on one attempt and then sophomore goalie Jeni Centner (Tustin, CA) made a niftty point blank save on another. All of a sudden the Gauchos were on their way to the final and in stride for their three-peat. UCSB won the WWLL Championship in 2008 and 2009.

"The chance to win a third in a row is not lost on our players," commented Ramsey. "It has been on our minds all week."

Centner finished with 10 saves and her 10th one staved off overtime. Aker led all scorers with 4 goals and 1 assist while Lutz was second leading overall scorer with 4 assists. Senior defender Monora Seth (San Diego, CA) led the UCSB defense with 3 caused turnovers, 4 ground balls and 1 draw control.

UCSB improved to 13-2 overall while Cal Poly SLO dropped to 11-4.


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