The Western Women's Lacrosse League (WWLL) planning for Spring 2023 has started. Here's some summer news.
National Affiliation: WWLL member teams voted unanimously to remain nationally affiliated with the Women's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (WCLA). The voting took place August 3rd in a Zoom call with teams and Commissioner Dave Woodson. Thirty-two of thirty-five programs were represented on the call. Some other leagues have chosen to switch over to the off-shoot WCLO but WWLL teams didn't find reasons compelling enough to make the move.
Divisions & Teams: Proposed WWLL divisions and team placements are now live for league membership inspection. Some new teams have formed and some teams would like to move divisions.
Here are the individual honors for Spring 2022 for All-League teams, Coach Of The Year and Player Of The Year. Selection for All-League is made by votes from opposing teams all season, after each game. Coach Of The Year and Player Of The Year recipients were first nominated by their team and then selected with a league wide vote.
UCLA and the club from ASU were two teams on a collision course to play each other in the WWLL D1 Championship Game. The Bruins and the Sun Devils had not played each other in the regular season. Both had emerged unscathed through WWLL quarterfinals and semifinals to meet in the final. Both teams played at a championship level but their defense won it for ASU.
UCLA scored the first goal. Bruins senior Katie Larratt (Coronado, CA) passed inside to Kailyn McCullough (Severna Park, MD) who caught it righty and switched to her left to sting the bottom right corner. Offense from ASU didn’t take long but it did take a while to score. The Sun Devils shot four times on their first possession but were empty handed after wide shots and two saves by UCLA goalie Naomi Moskowitz (Oakland, CA). Then on the next Sun Devils attacking possession freshman Lesha Karaba (Philadelphia, PA) dodged from behind and pulled off a rocker move to lose her defender just above goal line extended. The attacker notched an unassisted goal to tie it 1-1.
After it took them more than 7 minutes to get their first goal ASU mostly took over game on their way to their 11-6 win except for one surge by the Bruins toward the end of the third quarter. The score was 7-3 in favor of the Sun Devils at halftime before they eventually won by five goals. It is the first WWLL Championship for the club from ASU.
Late in the second quarter it looked like the halftime score was going to be five goals for the Sun Devils but UCLA attacker Charlotte Hussey (Norwalk, CT) split a double team. The junior scored unassisted to get the Bruins to within four goals with four seconds on the clock. All game ASU was quick to slide and rotate their defense. Double teams and second slides are what the UCLA offense kept facing every time they were on attack.
A yellow card on ASU 11:56 into the third quarter and then another yellow card on ASU just 13 seconds later gave UCLA a 7 versus 5 players up opportunity. Still the Sun Devils held. Toward the end of that two minute releasable penalty period a UCLA shot that went in was called no goal for a crease violation. That kept the score 7-3 in favor of the Sun Devils during the entire player up sequence. A midfield turnover by ASU facing the Bruins zone ride on the ensuing clear and UCLA had the ball again. After all that time ASU defending with only five players it was back to even strength. The Bruins scored this time. A UCLA pass from Hussey to Macy Anderson (Novato, CA) gave the Bruins a goal and it was 7-4.
ASU won the draw control but then faced a revved up UCLA defense coming out of a timeout adjustment. Now the Bruins were pressuring out and working hard to get their own double teams. UCLA goalie Moskowitz came out of the crease and intercepted an ASU pass and on this Bruins possession freshman Ainsley McCabe (Arlington, VA) scored on an 8 meter free position attempt with 4:44 left in the third quarter. The Bruins had pulled to within two goals.
UCLA doubled on the next ASU drive to goal and came up with the ball and made it 7-6 on that possession when Larratt scored unassisted to make it a one goal game with 3:43 left in the third period. Back and forth play through the midfield earned UCLA the ball but the one look inside they could get didn’t result in a shot. The fourth quarter started with ASU only up by one goal but the Sun Devils went on to hold the Bruins scoreless for the quarter to get the win. UCLA had chances the rest of the way but couldn't solve the Sun Devils defense.
The Bruins won the first draw of the fourth quarter on a loose ball foul by ASU but their settled offense pass inside was tipped and then intercepted. That defensive play resulted in a chance for Sun Devils freshman Briana Gardiner (Chicago, IL) to get a pass from freshman Caroline Kelly (Souderton, PA) for the first goal of the fourth quarter to put ASU up 8-6. It was the first goal of a 4-0 fourth quarter run by the Sun Devils. During that run timely saves by ASU goalie Alex Labrosse (Amherst, NH) kept the Bruins from scoring on several looks at the cage, including a Labrosse save on a UCLA 8 meter free position attempt from the center hash. After that Labrosse save ASU broke the UCLA midfield zone ride and and a long pass to Caroline Kelly (Souderton, PA) became a breakaway. The wide open attacker Kelly finished her opportunity by throwing two fakes and placing her shot off-hip to give ASU a 9-6 lead.
A Sun Devils stick on defense knocked down a UCLA pass and after a series of short ASU passes through the midfield this time a UCLA foul gave sophomore Jaiden Stepnowsky (San Diego, CA) a free position shot and she buried it to give ASU a 10-6 lead with 7:48 left in the game. The UCLA ride got them the ball several times but their passes inside on offense constantly met with an ASU stick tipping it or such tight marking after the catch they couldn’t take a shot. At that point in the game with less than three minutes left and down four goals UCLA needed every pass inside to result in a shot and every shot to be a goal but ASU played everything so well on defense it didn't happen. On the next ASU steal and possession sophomore Kaleigh Olla (Danville, CA) picked up a rebounded shot and scored tight on the crease to give ASU the final 11-6 lead with 1:24 left in the game.
The sixth ranked nationally Sun Devils improved to 14-0 overall and will play in the WCLA National Championships in Round Rock, Texas on May 4th – 7th. UCLA, 9th ranked in the nation, dropped to 10-3 overall and are strong candidates for an at-large spot at Nationals. The Bruins other two losses have come to current #1 Georgia and #2 Boston College.
UC San Diego won 16-12 win over Cal State San Marcos to capture the Western Women’s Lacrosse League Division Two Championship. The Tritons were 13-1 overall and the #1 seed going into the weekend and the Cougars were 10-1 and the #2 seed. After it was a 1-1 score early in the game UC San Diego never trailed but the Cougars did tie it 5-5 with 7:31 left in the second quarter. Whenever Cal State San Marcos mounted a surge, though, UC San Diego had an answer and the score was 10-6 in favor of the Tritons at halftime.
Halfway into the fourth quarter the Cougars rallied from being down four goals to get it to 12-10 with a little more than twelve minutes remaining in the game but then UC San Diego scored with 9:51 on the clock on a Emily Schittino (Glenelg, MD) pass inside to a cutting Delainey Iles (San Clemente, CA). UC San Diego took off with the game after that nifty feed. It were two draw controls in a row and two goals in a row by the Tritons that put them up 15-10 with 7:02 remaining.
Cal State San Marcos called a time out to regroup but then UC San Diego won the draw coming out of the timeout and killed almost two minutes while being careful on offense. San Marcos eventually won a ground ball but the Cougars didn’t keep possession of it all the way through the clear into the offensive end and UC San Diego was back on offense with a five goal lead and the clock winding down.
Cal State San Marcos came up with the ball and transitioned successfully this time. The Cougars scored with 3:07 left to get to within four goals at 15-11 and were back on offense again after an illegal UC San Diego draw. The Cougars used that to get a nice backdoor cut play and Kali Price (San Diego, CA) passed to the cutting Angela Chantaca (San Clemente, CA) to make it 15-12. There was some momentum for a comeback when the next draw went the way of Cal State San Marcos but a midfield charge call gave the ball to the Tritons. The Cougars comeback attempt was then ended with a lot of possession by the Tritons. When Gillian Husovsky (Temcula, CA) scored unassisted with two seconds left in the game it gave UC San Diego the final goal in a 16-12 win.
UC San Diego improved to 14-1 and the WWLL Champions. The nationally second ranked Tritons will be awarded the WWLL automatic qualifier (AQ) spot in the WCLA National Championships in Round Rock, Texas on May 4th – 7th. Cal State San Marcos dropped to 10-2 overall but has strong chances for an At-Large spot in the WCLA National Tournament. The Cougars are ranked seventh in the nation.
Top Seeded Teams Advance On First Day Of WWLL Championships
The seeds held true on day one of the WWLL Championships. The #1 & #2 seeded teams UC San Diego and Cal State San Marcos both won their semifinals and will play for the WWLL Division Two championship on Sunday. The top two seeds in Division One had to battle through quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday but persevered. Top seeded UCLA will face the club from ASU, the #2 seed.
In the first quarterfinal of the day 8th seed and host team Grand Canyon University kept it interesting with #1 UCLA the whole game before eventually the Bruins persevered 10-8. The Lopes played their best game of the year when the chips were down but UCLA finished with some ball control to preserve the win. Fifth seeded Santa Clara similarly fought hard but fell to the club from San Diego State in the other quarterfinal on the same side of the bracket as UCLA. That set up a semifinal between the Aztecs and UCLA, who had their closest game of the WWLL season with this club from SDSU. Again the Bruins played well enough to win and advanced with a 16-13 victory.
On the other side of the D1 bracket the club from ASU played University of Arizona for the second time in seven days and won 20-4 to easily advance to the semifinals. Cal Poly had it a little tougher in their 13-7 win over the club from UC Davis. The resulting semifinal between the Sun Devils and Cal Poly was close through most of the first half but then ASU distanced themselves and won 14-9.
Division Two teams come to play in a final four team bracket for this event and they played in the afternoon time slots. The #1 UC San Diego and #2 Cal State San Marcos squads summarily dispatched their matchups on a march to a repeat of a regular season game between them. This time they will play for the WWLL D2 Championship. UCSD won 17-4 over Cal Poly SLO B and Cal State San Marcos was successful 14-7 over UC Santa Cruz. Both the Tritons and the Cougars play in WWLL South D2. UCSD won narrowly 12-11 in their game on March 6th. The winner this time gets the crown and also the WCLA National Championship Tournament automatic qualifier (AQ) spot.
ASU and UCLA have not played this year so the D 1 final features two teams that have only scouted each other but not yet matched up on the field. The game is intriguing in that sense with both vying for first place and the national implications of being a top five seed in the WCLA National Championship Tournament, or not, also factor into the result.
We have three way for everyone to keep up with scores the weekend of April 9 & 10 for the WWLL Championships. The WWLL website has a direct link to the brackets and the master schedule page will have scores posted. Additionally there's also a direct link to the scores on Tourney Machine if you're on the go and would like a mobile device screen size view.
South Mountain Sports Is Livestreaming The WWLL Championships
South Mountain Sports is the livestream company for the WWLL Championships. Information and links to their streaming platform are on the South Mountain website http://southmountainsports.com. For a list of the games that have coverage please go to their website.
Teams have been selected and seeded for the WWLL Championship Tournament that is April 9th & 10th at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. UCLA and the club from Arizona State have received the #1 and #2 seeds, respectively, in Division One. The Bruins and the Sun Devils are undefeated against WWLL teams and have not played each other this year. UCLA received the #1 seed by virtue of fewest goals allowed in games among common opponents. After head to head results it is fewest goals allowed as the tie-breaker method in the WWLL By-Laws.
Cal Poly SLO and San Diego State also haven't played this year so the fewest goals allowed tie-breaker gave the Mustangs the third seed and the Aztecs the fourth seed. Santa Clara, UC Davis, Arizona and host Grand Canyon are in the five through eight spots.
UC San Diego is undefeated against all WWLL opponents, Division 1 & Division 2, and received the top seed in Division Two. It was their narrow one goal win over Cal State San Marcos in the regular season that got it for them. The Cougars have the second seed. UC Santa Cruz and Cal Poly SLO B are third and fourth seeds.
The WWLL South D1 game between University of Arizona and Grand Canyon University will be live streamed by South Mountain Sports. The winner of the game is virtually assured of qualifying for the WWLL Post-Season Tournament April 9th & 10th at Grand Canyon.
The WWLL Championships are April 9 - 10, 2022 at Grand Canyon University and the game times for the Division One and Division Two brackets are set. They are available on the Post-Season Tournament page of the WWLL website. Saturday preliminary games will be at 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. The WWLL All-League awards ceremony follows at 6:00pm. First and second all-league teams, Coach Of The Year and division MVPs are announced at the awards ceremony. Play continues on Sunday with 10:00am, 12:00pm and 1:00pm games. The D2 final is at 10:00am Sunday on Field 1. The D1 final is at 1:00pm Sunday on Field 1. Both games will be live streamed by South Mountain Sports.
WWLL regular season play concludes on April 3rd and that evening the executive committee in charge of play-offs will announce seeds. Division One will have teams seeded 1 - 8 and Division Two will have teams seeded 1 - 4. The winners of the WWLL D1 and D2 championship games receive an automatic qualifier sport in the WCLA National Championships in Round Rock, Texas in May.
UC San Diego has contolled D2 play from the start. The Tritons are undefeated against WWLL opponents and are the slim favorite by virture of a 12-11 win over rival Cal State San Marcos. UCSD are 12-1 overall and 6-0 in South D2 play while the Cougars are 8-1, 4-1 with only the loss to UCSD. Oh, back to those Tritons. Their lone loss is a 10-9 decision at the hands of now #1 ranked in WCLA D2 Utah Valley team back on February 19th at the Santa Barbara Shootout. Utah Valley's only loss is to WCLA D1 5th ranked BYU. It looks like a UCSD vs San Marcos final in WWLL D2 but North D2 automatic qualifier UC Santa Cruz boasts a pretty good 9-1, 5-0 record and their lone loss is to UCLA B. The Banana Slugs have not played UCSD or San Marcos. UC Santa Cruz has played likely fourth team participant Cal Poly B and won that game 9-7 on February 27th.
It's going to be just as competitive in D1 at the WWLL Championships. ASU has been storming through their WWLL schedule and is 10-0 overall and 2-0 so far in South D2 play. The Sun Devils are also fourth ranked in all the land. Knocking on the door to face ASU in the final are the UCLA Bruins who are 7-2, 2-0 with a game left against UCSB. The Bruins are 6th ranked in the country, undefeated against WWLL teams and their losses were to 1st ranked Georgia and 2nd ranked Boston College in February. Resume losses? Maybe but for sure toughness building and hunger creating games.
There's too much WWLL regular season play left to be able to announce the full field of eight D1 teams that will make the brackets but when the seeds are done and brackets are filled in they will be on-line here on the WWLL website and on Tourney Machine.
WWLL Championship Brackets
The brackets for the WWLL Championships have been posted. Team seeds and placements will be filled in on April 3rd.
It's been a hotly contested season so far and results have pushed two WWLL D1 teams and four D2 teams into the national rankings for the WCLA. As of the March 16th poll the club from Arizona State is 10-0 and ranked fourth. Close behind them is sixth ranked UCLA. The Bruins are 7-2 and only have losses at the hands of top ranked Georgia and the second ranked club from Boston College.
Highest up for the WWLL in the WCLA D2 rankings is 12-1 UC San Diego. The Tritons only loss was a 10-9 game with top ranked Utah Valley in February at the Santa Barbara Shootout. Cal State San Marcos is also in the hunt for a national championship tournament bid with their 6th spot in the rankings and their only loss a 12-11 to UC San Diego. Ninth ranked are UC Santa Cruz and 15th ranked are UC Irvine. The Banana Slugs are 9-1 and the Anteaters are 5-4.
San Diego State traveled to Arizona this past weekend playing a series of three games against division foes Arizona State, Grand Canyon and Arizona. The Aztecs have already been tested this season. They saw action against three of the top WCLA teams in the nation during the Golden State Invitational. They left the Invitational 0-3 but the experience of playing top competition seems to have paid off.
This weekend was different. SDSU came away with a pair of huge victories over U. Arizona and GCU; which will leave them sitting in the D1 South Conference #1 spot (2-1) for the moment. For now, all they can do is sit back and see how the rest of the South Division unfolds. They didn't leave the weekend unscathed however, dropping a loss to ASU Saturday night. Tori Dacko was voted Player of the Game against U. Arizona with a stellar performance on defense.
When asked about the weekend SDSU had this to respond via Instagram messenger.
“We are hyped about the win against UofA, and we still have more improvements to make on our road to playoffs. We're starting to really mesh well as a team and find our rhythm on the field and we’re excited to see what the season has in store for us.”
UCLA Continues WWLL Dominance
UCLA has been nothing short of dominate in 2022. The Bruins are undefeated in WWLL Central D1 and Inter-Region play (6-0). UCLA started the season on fire outscoring their first three opponents 52 - 7
Their only two losses on the season come from Boston College and Georgia who are both set to make runs to Nationals. UCLA is led by it's dynamic offense. They have four different goal scorers who already have at least 9 Goals on the season each. They are Sydney Riepl, Kailyn MnCulloch, Macy Anderson and Laurel Mardiney. The four have massed a combined41 Goals for UCLA this season.
This past weekend was no different for UCLA. The Bruins came away with a 14-9 win over Santa Clara. Circle your calendars for this weekend. Sunday, March 6th, at 1:00PM UCLAwill make the short trip to San Diego to face SDSU.
It were just two games. It were just two college lacrosse games. It were just the first two games of the 2022 season. But they were not just games. For the Gauchos, the Lumberjacks, the Waves and the Wildcats it was epic to get to play a regular season game that counted on their records. Coming out of a pandemic from the Covid-19 virus and all its variants they played a real game. These weren't just fall ball scrimmages and the feeling was different. They were the regular season openers for their WWLL and WCLA national schedules. NCAA lacrosse teams competed for conference and national championships in 2021 but MCLA and WCLA teams did not. Their time is now though.
UCSB rolled out of bed early on Saturday morning to make it from Santa Barbara to Malibu for a 10:00am game at Pepperdine. In the Grand Canyon State 580 miles away Northern Arizona had it more leisurely for their travel with a 6:00pm opener at University of Arizona in Tucson.
The Gauchos held a 5-1 lead at the end of the first quarter at Pepperdine. WCLA & WWLL games are using the four quarter format in the NCAA rules being utilized by the WCLA for the first time this season. UCSB led 8-7 at halftime and then distanced themselves in the second half to win 16-11 over the Waves. At University of Arizona the Lumberjacks surprised their hosts and took a 5-1 lead in the first quarter. The Wildcats clawed back and tied the game 8-8 before halftime. Arizona then eked out the 15-13 win over the competitive NAU program.
Both Pepperdine and UCSB play Friday night lights games this week on January 28th. The Waves will host College of Saint Benedict of Minnesota at 7:00pm at Cal Lutheran University and the Gauchos host Grand Canyon University at 7:00pm at the UCSB Recreation Center Sports Complex. The Wildcats play next when they travel to USC on February 5th at 4:00pm. NAU is at Grand Canyon on February 5th at 4:00pm.
More than six hundred athletes on thirty-two teams in the Western Women's Lacrosse League are eagerly awaiting their opening day. January 22nd will see the first two games of the season.
Saturday of the season opening weekend features UCSB at Pepperdine and it is the first game of the season with a 10:00am opening draw. The Gauchos are Central D1 Region while Pepperdine is Central D2. The second game of the day occurs when Northern Arizona travels to the Arizona Wildcats to play them at 6:00pm.
UCSB first year head coach Jessa Johnson feels like her team is ready to go for the matchup in Malibu with the Waves.
"We are excited to get back on the field after two years of being away. I know a lot of players are eager to get out there and play hard. We have a good mix of talent this year and I am excited to see where this first game takes us. I think the game will be a good balance of fun and challenge for both teams," said Johnson when asked about the game.
Editor's Note: UC Santa Cruz at UC Irvine originally scheduled for January 22nd has been rescheduled for March 12th at 2:00pm.
Upcoming games and recent scores are available all season long on the WWLL website.
It's the first time the Western Women's Lacrosse League post-season tournament will be conducted in Arizona and the Antelopes of Grand Canyon University are ready to host the league's premiere event. The tournament dates are April 9 - 10, 2022 and all rounds of the tournament are played in two days.
The WWLL D1 and D2 championships are conducted in two separate brackets played concurrently at the host institution. The winner of each division receives an automatic qualifier berth in the WCLA National Tournament. That national championship event is May 4 - 7, 2022 in Round Rock, Texas.