The Utah State women recently competed at the Santa Barbara Shootout, finishing with an impressive 3-1 record with solid wins over No. 3 Concordia, Long Beach, and Central Valley.
The Aggies also had a narrow loss against the No. 1 team in Division II of the WCLA, the Denver Pioneers club team in a game that was only a few hours after their victory over Concordia.
“This is the hardest aspect of this tournament. It is hard to keep legs fresh when we have to play so many tough teams one after the other,” said Utah State head coach Jessika Carlstrom. “It is mentally and physically exhausting, but our players love the challenge and the opportunity to play so many high level games.”
Carlstrom said of the loss, “In our loss to DU I liked how our players didn’t give up. In the last 3 minutes of the game we were on a goal scoring streak with something like 4 goals scored over just a couple minutes. Our players work hard and I love seeing the drive that they have on the field.”
Carlstrom was encouraged by her team’s performance at the tournament. “So much of what our team did this past weekend excited me,” said Carlstrom. “The hard work that the players have been putting in at field practices and conditioning has definitely paid off.”
Carlstrom especially praised her offense for making “a lot of good connections on the field” and commented how “our attack really started to work together and gel.”
Overall, Carlstrom said, “Our decision making across the field looked really good. I’m excited to see how much better they get as our season goes on.”
However, Carlstrom still wants to see her team improve, particularly consistency. “There are definitely still areas where we need to work harder,” Carlstrom said. “For example, playing consistent high level lacrosse for an entire game has always been a challenge for our program.” Carlstrom also would like to see her team capitalize on more free position shots.
Standouts for the Aggies included Emma Juneau, Rachel Muller, and Naomi Hunsaker. Juneau played outstanding in goal according to Carlstrom, and Muller was a player who “went on a scoring streak at the end of the DU game.” Hunsaker put up 13 goals across the four games to lead all Aggie scorers from the weekend.
Utah State’s next game will be at Utah Valley University on March 16 at 6:00 p.m. at UVU.