Top two seeds ready for Pac-12 Women’s Lacrosse Championship Game
Eugene, Ore. – The championship game of the 2019 Pac-12 Women’s Lacrosse Tournament is set with regular-season champion and No. 1-seed USC facing No. 2-seed COLORADO on Sunday, April 28 at 1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT at Papé Field.
The title match is set for broadcast on Pac-12 Networks and will be available to stream on the Pac-12 Now app. Click here for complete coverage of the 2019 Pac-12 Women's Lacrosse Tournament.
In the first semifinal game, top-seeded USC defeated No. 4 CALIFORNIA, 16-5, with a well-balanced offense that allowed 10 players to find the back of the net and six combined for eight team assists. Junior captain Izzy McMahon was a dominant force, recording a career-high five goals and helped push the fast-pace tempo. USC outshot Cal 39-to-14 and collected 16 draw controls compared to the Golden Bears’ 6.
The Trojans’ confident offense propelled them to a 12-2 lead to close out the first half with a running clock. Kelsey Huff, who led the Trojans with 36 goals during the regular-season, including seven games with at least three goals, tacked on a pair of first-half tallies.
Ball movement was key for USC, swinging the ball around the back of the net and staying patient when Kaeli Huff capitalized at the start of the second half to extend a 13-2 lead. The Huff sisters accounted for four goals off 10 shots and added one helper. Cal got on the board with an unassisted goal from Eliza Christman then Kristen Swanson blasted one in with 26 seconds left in the first half.
Christman returned with another finish at the start of the second to conclude her senior year with a team-leading 42 goals this season. Cal’s Cameron Gordon notched her 10th goal for the season while Susie Ropp added a tally and assist in the contest. USC continued to pin the ball down in the offensive third as junior Sarah Larkin slipped one in with 46 seconds remaining to secure its second Conference tournament win all-time.
“I thought this was a really good day for our entire team. I think it was probably one of the most solid games we’ve had all year and it’s a good time to have it. We need to make sure we bring that confidence going into Sunday,” said USC head coach Lindsey Munday. “It’s what you work for and I’m really proud of this team. I think all year we’ve talked about getting better and improving. It’s not about where we are in February, it’s about how we progress throughout the season.”
No. 2 Colorado and No. 3 Stanford put on a show in the second tournament semifinal game that was reminiscent of last year’s Championship match. Colorado ultimately prevailed to advance to its second-straight tournament title game with a 16-9 victory over Stanford.
Colorado struck first with a goal from Miranda Stinson before the Cardinal responded with three consecutive goals. The scoreboard showed three tied scores as the two teams battled through a close first half while trading off shot attempts. The Buffs’ attackers surged for a 5-2 scoring run with 10 minutes until the break, including a pair from sophomore Sadie Grozier.
“I thought our players really played with a lot of heart and competed for a full 60 minutes,” said head coach Ann Elliott Whidden. “To be able to make it here to the championship again, we’re just excited. I think we have a little bit of a chip on our shoulder going into this game from last year, knowing how it end last year for us. I think were excited to be back where we are and we know it’s going to take even more hard work on Sunday.”
The Cardinal came out blazing in the second half when Galen Lew collected a ground ball off a rebounded shot that led to a tricky play by Daniella McMahon to help close the gap, 10-8. Colorado’s quick-transition offensive took advantage of its speed with five-straight goals, including two man-up tallies to push a seven-goal differential.
Stanford senior Areta Buness collected her 22nd goal of the season in the final three minutes of the game to finish with a hat trick. Colorado secured the victory as Grozier notched her team-leading fifth goal of the night with 1:34 remaining. Colorado’s trio of lethal attackers totaled 12 goals with the additions of Stinson (4) and Samantha Nemirov (3), who combined for over 100 goals on the season.
Fans can also follow along with the Pac-12 Conference and Pac-12 Network social accounts to watch the Pac-12 lacrosse tournament champion be crowned.