Club team takes on nation’s best at tournament
THE SANTA CLARA
May 15, 2014
Led by five experienced seniors, the women’s club lacrosse team traveled to Virginia Beach, Va. this past weekend with one goal in mind: victory.
The squad headed into the national tournament with a 9-2 record.
After defeating the University of Colorado Boulder by a score of 12-11 in the first round of the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse National Championships, the sixth-seeded Broncos fell to the No. 3 seed Ohio State University in the quarterfinals 12-11.
The Broncos redeemed themselves by winning 12-11 in double overtime against the University of California, Santa Barbara and went on to face the fourth-seeded University of Georgia.
The Broncos had met the Bulldogs once before during the regular season and ended up clinching the win in overtime 11-10 but they couldn’t repeat that accomplishment at nationals.
“I think (familiarity) helped our team in a very positive way,” said sophomore midfielder Abby Lewis. “We knew what they were capable of and we were aware how strong of a team they were, which helped our strong mentality going into the game. Unfortunately, we did not come up on top at the end of the game.”
Georgia took an early lead but Santa Clara kept within striking distance of the Bulldogs and finished the first half only down two goals. The Broncos answered every Georgia goal with a score of their own until late in the second half when the Bulldogs turned up the tempo.
With five minutes left in what would be their last game of the season, the team regrouped.
“We were only going to be satisfied if we played so we would have no regrets,” said Tori Rutherford, named Second Team All-American this season. “The team that put it all out there and had no regrets was going to win the game.”
After the timeout, the Broncos were able to score three more goals before the game ended. But those three goals weren’t enough to advance. The team had come up short, 12-8.
“I wish our team could have … executed on important plays both offensively and defensively when we needed it the most,” said Lewis. “Being part of a team means that we all take responsibility for both wins and losses and accepting that no game can be perfect.”
Rutherford agreed with Lewis about the variousmissed opportunities that the team didn’t take advantage of.
“I wish we could have capitalized in the offensive sets early on,” she said. “I think that would have completely changed the momentum of the game.”
In spite of the tough loss, the Broncos celebrated their highest finish ever in a season at sixth place in the nation.
The team is looking ahead to the challenge of placing even higher in the tournament next year.
They welcomed seven freshmen onto their roster this year, several of whom saw considerable minutes on the field.
Rutherford had high praise for freshmen Maggie Von Massenhausen, Claire Smoker and Sara Barry.
Goalie Von Massenhausen, playing without any prior lacrosse experience, was named co-Rookie of the Year and honored at the WCLA Nationals Award Ceremony.
Rutherford called Smoker a “force in the midfield” and said that Barry possessed composure that was “not normally present in freshman players.”
Both Lewis and Rutherford are optimistic about the program’s next season and are confident that their team will come back from the disappointing loss to be even stronger at the tournament and defeat their future opponents.
“This might be my last year,” Rutherford said. “But after what I have seen from my teammates this season I know they will turn that disappointment into fuel and have it feed their fires to work hard.”
Contact Claire McLoughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org .