The Cal Poly women’s club lacrosse team, riding a 12-game winning streak, claimed the Western Women’s Lacrosse League (WWLL) title on April 21, soundly beating USC 20-7.
Now, the No. 4 women’s team is set to play No. 13 Maryland at the U.S. Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associate’s National Championship in Colorado Springs, Colo. on May 8.
“We’re willing to do anything to win,” goalie Kelly Harris said. “We haven’t won since 2007 and we’re ready to bring (a title) back.”
The women’s team won the national championship for seven consecutive years, from 2000–2007, and although they’ve traveled to nationals each year since then, the team hasn’t been able to come away with the title.
But this year, the same coach that took the team to win nationals in 2007, Eric Thomas, returned to coach full time.
“Just having a coach that’s there and knows what it takes to get it done has really made a difference,” said Harris, a senior on the team.
Although the team got off to a slow start, losing five games in seven days, the team was able to turn its win-loss record, finishing at 12-5.
Low attacker Christa Nelson said Harris played a huge part in the successful season.
“A lot of (our) wins are largely in part because of saves she’s made,” Nelson said.
Harris, who didn’t begin playing goalie until part way through her sophomore year, boasts a save percentage of 55 percent — the best in the WWLL.
Nelson said the team is confident about nationals because of the competition they’ve already met in their league.
“We know our hardest games have passed,” she said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that if we show up to play the way we’ve been playing, that we’ll be able to win.”
‘Ups and downs’
The Cal Poly men’s club lacrosse team has started to turn around a season that saw the Mustangs drop four consecutive games in February and March. The team upset No. 8 Stanford on April 20 and defeated Chico State this past weekend to move its record to 7-7.
Although the men’s win-loss record is lacking compared to seasons past, goalie Nick Czapla said the team is looking to claim the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League (WCLL) title for the fifth year in a row. The WCLL playoffs begin on Saturday when the team faces Sonoma State.
“This year, it’s been more of a collective team effort to get the same results (as last year),” Czapla said. “Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it’s not, but the ups and downs come with a young team.”
The men lost 15 seniors to graduation this past year, who Czapla said were phenomenal athletes who were capable of winning a game on their own.
The results of the WCLL championship will determine if the team advances to the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) nationals in South Carolina, where this past year, they lost the championship game as the No. 1 seed to No. 2 Colorado State.
Czapla said this year the team hopes to beat Sonoma State, who beat Cal Poly 11-5 earlier in April, in the WCLL and then advance to nationals.
“We’re more of an underdog this year,” Czapla said. “But they’re definitely beatable if we have a good game. I think they’ll come out cocky because they’ve already beaten us this year … but I think we have a good shot at it.”