The BYU women’s lacrosse team swept the competition at the Santa Barbara Shootout during the weekend of Feb. 16-18, 2018. The Cougars defeated Connecticut, UC Santa Barbara, Virginia, and Grand Canyon University.
The Cougars proved they were worthy of their No. 12 ranking, defeating tough competition such as GCU, who is ranked in the top-20 and the UVA club team ranked in the top-10.
“Mentally, it’s exhausting,” said BYU head coach Nikki Dabrowski of the challenge of facing so many quality opponents in such a short span.
According to Dabrowski, the key to the weekend was depth. “We have 27 players and they are all very capable of being on the field,” said Dabrowski. “Everyone got to play this weekend. Even in our Virginia game we probably played about 23 of our 27 players.”
This gave the Cougars an advantage over teams like the University of Connecticut who, according to Dabrowski, only had “five or six.”
The game against Virginia was a tight game, with the score finishing in favor of the Cougars 10-8. “I was just so impressed with the confidence the girls had,” said Dabrowski, so much so that Dabrowski found herself watching and letting the girls lead.
Dabrowski felt that her team took a big step forward in what they learned at the tournament, specifically on the defense. “Our defense played really proactive and tried to help each other out,” said Dabrowski.
The offense performed at a high level as well. In the Cougars’ game against UCONN, they “couldn’t quite figure out how to break their defense because they were playing so tight,” according to Dabrowski. However, her team learned to “work to create isolations and dump the ball off to each other.” Dabrowski said, “Our team has shown a lot more teamwork than we’ve had in awhile.” The Cougars showed it by averaging 14 goals per game at the tournament. “I’m really happy with the cohesiveness they were able to bring out in one another,” said Dabrowski.
Even though each of these team units performing so high, Dabrowski thought that the biggest factor was the havoc that her team’s riding game had on opponents. Dabrowski commented that her team did a good job, “turning the ball over and getting the ball back on our offense.”
The Cougars will next face Colorado State on March 2 in Fort Collins, CO.