With a 12-7 victory over Colorado, the CSU women’s lacrosse team captured its league’s title Saturday.
The Rocky Mountain Women’s Lacrosse League championship now belongs to the nation’s top-ranked Rams, as does a spot in Dallas for the national tournament.
“Once the clock went to zero, my heart just dropped,” senior Kate Sebesta said. “It’s a great feeling.”
CSU had to take on CU without three regular starters, including captain Jen Gunlikson, who injured her foot on Friday.
“They saw it as another CSU-CU rivalry game,” Sebesta said. “We took it as just another game on our way to nationals.”
Trailing 2-1 13 minutes into the game, however, was a test for the younger lineup. Following a timeout by CSU, the offense kicked into gear.
“Jaime basically told us to calm down and work the offense,” Sebesta said.
No more than 10 seconds later, Sebesta notched her first of three goals of the afternoon. Sophomore attacker Lindsay Brown added her first of five goals with four minutes left in the half to give CSU a lead it would not relinquish.
“We have some great individual players,” Whitlock said. “But with a couple players out, it just shows how we play as a team first.”
Senior Dana Nilson also chalked up a hat trick and played phenomenal defense helping goalie Brooke Lewis stop seven shots.
“It’s good to have a goalie like Brooke,” Whitlock said.
CSU scored three goals in 33 seconds with under a minute remaining to secure the 12-7 victory and a bid to nationals in Dallas on May 10.
But before the championship game, the Rams had to take care of Air Force in a morning match-up. CSU jumped out to the early lead and went into the half with a 9-1 lead. Just over one minute into the second half, freshman Lisa Long tallied one of her three goals of the game to give the Rams a 19-2 victory.
The other semifinal between CU and BYU went down to the wire. Tied 10-10 in the final minute, CU completed a comeback by finding the net with under 30 seconds left and guaranteeing a spot in the championship game.
“It was a great game,” said head coach Jaime Whitlock. “To tell you the truth I kind of wanted to play BYU, but its okay.”
With three weeks off until nationals, Whitlock is not worried about the team getting rusty.
“We have a couple weeks off so I think we’re going to do some fun things,” Whitlock said. “Do the challenge course and a senior/coaches versus rookies scrimmage.”
While the Rams have not yet earned the No. 1 seed for the national tournament, they will be considered a favorite with only one loss for the year.
“The view from the top is great,” Sebesta said.