Maddie Garcia’s four goals helped lead Colorado State over UCLA 11-9 in the US Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA) Division I National Championship game. It was Colorado State’s second consecutive national championship, and third in the last four years.
“This team has more heart than any team I know,” said first-year Colorado State coach Anna Pranger.
The Rams had to win the game without senior All-American defender Ally Mast. Mast was issued two yellow cards in CSU’s semifinal win over UCSB on Friday night, so she had to sit out her team’s next game – which happened to be the national championship game in her senior year. The entire team wrote the No. 20 on their shoulders in support of Mast.
“We said last night that we were going to win the game for her,” said senior goalie Annette Greenberg. “That’s the main reason we wanted to win. She was an All-American, one of our best defenders, senior. We just wanted to win the game for her.”
CSU’s previous two championships came from defense, but UCLA seemed to find the answer in the first half. After falling behind 5-2 early, UCLA scored the final five goals of the first half to take a 7-5 halftime lead. Morgan Oberstein, who had seven goals in UCLA’s Friday night win over Santa Clara, stayed hot and did most of the damage, scoring four goals.
CSU went scoreless for the final 19 minutes of the first half, but stormed out of the gates to start the second half. Hayley Bernstein scored less than two minutes into the second half. Just 37 seconds later, Garcia tied the game. Cara Gulbronson and Garcia added goals over the next five minutes and CSU was back in front with a 9-7 lead and 22 minutes to play.