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Utah WCLA Teams Dominate Weekend Tournament

Last weekend, every D2 team in the Rocky Mountain Women’s Lacrosse League, with the exception of Denver, converged on UVU’s intramural turf fields. Over the course of three days, Colorado School of Mines, Northern Colorado, Wyoming, Boise State, Utah State, Utah, and Utah Valley all mixed it up under the lights just a stone’s throw away from the shores of Utah Lake. On a personal note, this former college men’s player was thoroughly impressed with the stamina and precision passing and catching in the women’s games I watched — they’d put some men’s teams to shame.
With two fields and games starting every two hours, the weekend consisted of over 14 games and provided the WCLA D2 teams with a chance to play many of their conference games in just a single trip.
“[We] had the idea to do this, to get all the teams down here to be able to get the last games in for the season and to figure out who’s going to go to the playoffs,” said UVU’s Coach Lock, “[It’s gone] really good — we’re hoping to do this again next year.”
“I thought UVU did a great job organizing this weekend,” said Utah State head coach Michelle Bowman, “They have a great facility that can comfortably host a lot of teams. It was a really good chance for us to play teams from the eastern half of our conference. It was good weather, and just a fun weekend all the way around. UVU did a great job and we appreciate their hospitality.”
“It was a lot of fun,” reflected Utah coach Tracy Pati, “Having back-to-back games, you really can target your mistakes and fix them the next game, so you end up feeling like you walk away with big strides rather than a whole list of things to work on.”
Here’s a look at how the three teams from Utah fared:
Utah Valley University
UVU LogoThe host team had a solid weekend, going 3-1 and doubling their win total on the season. The Wolverines defeated Wyoming 21-5, Northern Colorado 14-8, and Colorado-Mines 12-10; their lone loss coming in a tight game against the No. 20 Boise State Broncos where UVU was playing a man down as one of their players tore an Achilles tendon, eventually losing 11-8.
“We did really good; I was really proud of [my team],” reflected Coach Lock after the weekend, “We started off a little slow through halftime of the first game, we had a little talk about it, and they changed their attitude, brought more energy to it, and they’ve been doing really good ever since.”
On players who shined this weekend: “Kelsey Brown and Karli Bird have been really strong at the midfield and someone who has really come out and surprised is Kaylor Ficklin, who we moved to midfield, she killed it, she was awesome.”
Utah Valley finished the season ranked fifth in the RMWLL and will look to use the late-season momentum to build for next year, where they hope to get a postseason bid.
Utah State University
460px-Utah_State_Aggies_Logo.svgThe No. 11 ranked Aggies looked formidable in their sweep of four teams over the weekend, beating Wyoming 21-3, Colorado-Mines 15-6, Northern Colorado 15-3, and Boise State 15-7. USU used a lot of great one-on-one dodges to the cage to create offense and a tough ride and good man-to-man defense to keep opponents off the scoreboard.
“I don’t quite know how to describe it, but the team just hit a stride this weekend,” said Coach Bowman, “They are close as friends and that showed in a really powerful way this weekend. Our transitions looked great, offense produced, defense was solid, and we hassled teams in the midfield. The girls were able to make adjustments mid-game on their own also. We really matured as a team.”
USU relied especially on their midfield and goaltending to get wins: “Jessica Allen and Rachel Quigley were amazing.  They were around the ball all the time no matter where it was, offense or defense.  They got out there and competed and really set the tone for the rest of the team.  They were aggressive but smart.  And that’s what really sparked us. Also our goalie, Emma Juneau, she was solid.  She’s been solid all season, but this weekend you could see her focus and confidence.”
With their wins this weekend, the Aggies secured a spot in the postseason and will play the underdog role against Denver, ranked No. 2 in the country, this Friday at 6:00 pm in Salt Lake City.
University of Utah
Utah Utes LacrosseThe No. 4 ranked Utes were able to use the weekend as a tune-up to get ready for the postseason, easily dispatching Colorado-Mines 15-3, Boise State 13-3, Wyoming 18-1, and taking a forfeiture win from Northern Colorado who had to bow out due to injuries. The Utes used a precision team attack, finding cutters in front of the cage for assisted goals throughout their match-ups, and used a stifling ride that often kept their opponents on the wrong side of the field.
“We have a lot of new girls on the team,” remarked Coach Pati, “So just being able to come up and play at the level that’s been set before, and keep that standard high, has been a great experience. Everyone’s been stepping up to the challenge and we’re looking forward to hopefully getting a big win in regionals.”
Players who helped the team have a good weekend: “Our goalie, Sasha [McKee], did amazing; she actually stepped and played in the field and scored a goal, instead of just stopping them. In the midfield, Roni [Daugherty] had some great footwork and strong draw controls. And our goal scorers, all of them played excellent this tournament. A big shout-out to Lex [Pappas], she actually took a shot to the face, but she had a great tournament and shut down a lot of different attackers.”
The Utes will enter the postseason RMWLL tournament as a one-seed and look to make the 16-team national tournament.

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