The Westminster women’s lacrosse team claimed the first conference championship in their school history at Dumke Field on Saturday.
They started out the day as the No. 1 seed defeating fourth-seeded Wyoming 17-10 in the semi-finals and then took the field later that evening and defeated the No. 2 seed Utah 15-14 in overtime to claim the 2011 Rocky Mountain Women’s Lacrosse League Division II Championship.
“My team has been doing a great job despite all of our setbacks,” said Westminster Head Coach Niki Harding.Â “We’ve had a lot of injuries. In the last 9 days, they have had 8 games and have been playing really hard, pushing it to the limit.Â It speaks volumes of their mental and physical toughness to be able to play hard and come out on top.”
In the championship game, the two teams were neck and neck through the entire match. Neither team held more than a two goal advantage throughout the game.
Utah came out strong with a goal from Laura Hunter in the first minute of contest. Westminsters’ Erin Foslid quickly responded with a goal just 25 seconds later.
Trailing 3-1 at 23:32 to go in the first half, Westminster scored four unanswered goals for a 5-3 lead with 17:41 remaining.Â Sage Johnson scored all three of her goals in the game during that Westminster run. Utah then scored five of the final six goals of the half to carry an 8-6 lead into the half-time.
Westminster started out very strong in the second half. They got goals from Lindsey Mark, Chelsea Farrell, and Dechie Sumampong to open the half on a 3-0 run and build a 9-8 lead. The team would then alternate goals for the next 12 minutes to see the game deadlocked at 12-12 with 10:41 to play.
Mark and Farrell both added goals for the Griffins and they led 14-12 with 6:56 to play. Heather Hunter found the net for Utah with 3:01 remaining and then captain Laura Hunter sent the game into overtime with her seventh goal of the night with just 22 seconds remaining in regulation.
In the first half of the three-minute overtime Utah managed a solid shot and the only shot by either team, into the net by Nancy Little which was controversially disallowed due to a “dangerous follow through” call and yellow card.Â The game would move to the second three-minute period still tied at 14.Â Mark earned a free position shot halfway through the period and put it in the net for the eventual game winner at the 1:30 to go. Regan Lelli made her 13th and final save of the night on a free position shot from Utah to clench the title for Westminster.
Mark led Westminster with six goals in the game. Farrell and Johnson had three goals and one assist each. Westminster held a 33-32 advantage in shots taken and collected 51 ground balls to just 25 by Utah.Â Eight of Lelli’s 13 saves came in the second half, including two in the final overtime period.
Laura Hunter lead the Utes with seven goals in the match. Tracy Souvall had two goals and one assist.Â Katelyn Weber, Heather Hunter, Nancy Little, Whitney Winn, and Haley Poulson each tallied a goal for Utah. Jacklyn Amadu collected seven saves in goal. Utah held a 22-10 advantage control in the midfield was 22-10 for the Utes.
Harding also noted. “I have been really impressed by the Utah team.Â We knew it was going to be a hard game, they have been getting better all season.Â I am really impressed with how well they have done in just their first season.”
Both teams received an invitation to compete in the eight-team WCLA National Championships, May 4-7 in Scottsdale AZ.Â Westminster going in as the No. 1 seed and Utah at the No. 6 spot.