The BYU – Utah rivalry was renewed Saturday night in this year’s women’s lacrosse version of the ‘Holy War‘. Despite the blizzard conditions that enveloped McCarthey Field, the game was as hotly-contested as ever as BYU walked away with the close win.
BYU – Utah: Photo Gallery
Utah got on the board first, but BYU took control of the second half by controlling loose balls and executing proficiently in the transition game. The Cougars would take an 8-2 lead heading into halftime.
The Utes were not done, however, as they battled back to a 9-5 score in the final minutes and largely controlled the time of possession, but were unable to complete a comeback, finishing the game in a 10-6 victory for the Cougars.
Both BYU head coach Nikki Dabrowski and Utah head coach Glee Corsetti commented on the difficulty of the snowy conditions and the adjustments that needed to be made.
“Our players are lucky enough to practice inside,” Dabrowski said. ” … So we’re not used to playing in less-than-perfect conditions. We had to remind our girls before we start that the cold affects both teams. We mentally just needed to be aware that our bodies aren’t used to handling it. So, if you sub, you need to sub early and keep your hands warm.”
Corsetti also talked about the difficulties the inclement weather gave her team.
“We can’t run as quickly, our girls can’t cut as easily. The sticks quite literally freeze. We had to pull some girls off the field because their fingers froze to their sticks. But the game itself is the same thing, we just have to play it slower, cleaner and softer. We just kept reminding our girls to stay disciplined, you don’t get to use this as an excuse to play crazy.”
Both teams were well-coached, and the teams both did their best to execute their game plans despite the snowy conditions.
Dabrowski was complimentary of her team’s ability to adjust to the conditions, as BYU did well in controlling the ball, particularly in the first half.
“We told the girls before the game even started that we wanted to focus on the basics, because we knew hands would be cold, feet would be wet and to really make sure that whatever pass they made was intentional as opposed to convenient, so the ball didn’t end up on the ground.”
While the second half saw the Utes dominate the time of possession, they were unable to overcome the first-half deficit.
While the Holy War may be bitter in other sports, both coaches agreed that this version is one of the healthiest rivalries between the two schools.
“It’s awesome. It’s honestly the most healthy rivalry ever, because the coaching staff loves each other and talks to each other all of the time,” said Corsetti. “Everybody gets equally nervous on both teams to perform at a really high level. […] We really try to do everything we can to amp our girls up and focus on their strengths.”
“We are really excited that Utah is Division I,” Dabrowski said. “I think the rivalry has almost become more of a thing because they’re Division I. I love the relationship that we have with them that I think we’re on the same page that we’re trying to grow the game in Utah. […] On the field, I know that things can get a little chippy, but both teams do a good job of keeping it under control.”
According to both teams’ websites, they will each next face Colorado State on March 9.