Today, the #5 UCSB women’s lacrosse team will face off against #12 Navy in the Women’s Division Intercollegiate Association’s National Championships held in Dallas.
The Gauchos (9-4 overall) are one of six teams who won at-large bids in the tournament, despite finishing as the runner-up in the Western Women’s Lacrosse League.
The #2 seed and WWLL conference champion, Cal Poly, returns to the tournament as the five-time defending champion and looks to defend its title, as the Mustangs have been the only team to win the WDIA title since the championships began in 2001.
“We are all completely ready to play. [The last match-up against Cal Poly] was just one game and we’ve had a couple of scrimmages since then to prepare,” senior attacker Katie Gong said. “We’re doing a great job moving the ball and we’re doing really well. We’re pretty excited.”
The winner of today’s game will play again tonight at 6 p.m. against the winner of the #4 Michigan- #13 Army game, while the two defeated teams will face off in the loser’s bracket tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. The matchups for the rest of the consolation round will be determined with an emphasis on avoiding rematches between teams that faced off in conference tournaments last month.
“I think the Navy’s a lot higher ranked [than it should be], and we’re a lot lower, so we should be the stronger team,” Gong said. “I hope that just because of how they’re ranked, and how we are, we’re going do fine. It’s a tougher match than if we had played Army like we were originally scheduled to do.”
UCSB returns to its usual form just in time for the last tournament of the season, as seniors attacker Candace West and midfielder Stephanie Ligon return from the disabled list to contribute in their last year with the Gauchos.
The Midshipmen (7-1 overall) are led by sophomore midfielder Amanda Towey, who is third on the all-time list for Navy with 44 assists in 18 games this year. She is also third in total points scored with 101 in 2006, 11 of which came in a single game last month. The captain of the team, senior attacker Liza Holmes also leads the Navy with 236 total career goals scored and is only five away from a first place tie for all-time lead.
If Santa Barbara wins both games today, it most likely will face #1 Colorado State tomorrow night at 5:30, with the final championship round scheduled for Saturday, May 13, at 4:30 p.m.
Today’s game is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. in Dallas.