Much to Allen Iverson’s dismay, sometimes “practice” really does make a difference.

Yes, we’re talking about “practice.” At least, the Georgia Bulldogs are talking about it.

After winning five of their first six games to start the season, the defending WCLA D-1 champions hit a bumpy stretch, culminating in back-to-back losses to Boston College and Virginia Tech. The team was simply not playing well.

“It was painful to watch,” said coach Adam Weinstein. “The offense wasn’t clicking, we weren’t shooting well and we had tons of unforced errors.”

So how did Georgia respond? The Bulldogs flew out to Colorado for the Mile High Tournament last weekend and promptly finished 4-0, including victories over Michigan, Colorado and Colorado State, all ranked in the top 10. The impressive showing helped Georgia jump five spots to No. 5 in this week’s Women's Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA) Division I Top 20 poll.

The key, according to Weinsetin, was practice.

“We had a really good week of practices prior to going out to Boulder and I think that got us re-focused,” he said. “We worked on some of our weaknesses, like draw controls and our motion offense, and we worked on some chemistry issues.”

Four victories later, Weinstein says he now sees more of the chip-on-the-shoulder mentality that propelled last year’s Bulldogs to the national championship.

“I think we had lost sight of the fact that we still have to work hard, which means coming early to practice, staying late, doing extra shooting. Those are the things that make a difference. I think we figured it would just come easy this year, and that doesn’t happen.”

Pittsburgh maintained its hold on the top spot in the poll following a 3-0 week that included a victory over No. 20 Ohio State. The Panthers are 11-1 on the season with their only loss coming by one goal to No. 6 Colorado State.

UCLA, 8-1 overall, continues to fill the number two position. After a four week break from games, the Bruins return to action this week with games at UC Davis and California Club. The long hiatus, which is not unusual for many WCLA teams, can be viewed as both a positive and negative, according to Bruins’ coach Paige Lin.

“While I don't think any coach wants to have such a long break from games, it is definitely a part of the WCLA season and it’s what makes club lacrosse so appealing to the girls,” she said. “The ability to balance lacrosse with other experiences in college is the essence of club lacrosse.” 

No. 4 Brigham Young (6-0), No. 15 Central Florida (9-0) and No. 16 Delaware (5-0) are the only undefeated teams among the top 20. Delaware will get a strong challenge this week with games against No. 14 Penn State, No. 17 North Carolina, No. 18 Virginia and No. 19 James Madison.

BYU also puts its unblemished mark on the line this week with road games against Arizona and Arizona State.

“We had high hopes that this year would be a good one for us after coming off a few rebuilding years and it has not disappointed,” said BYU coach Nikki Dabrowski. “We are definitely excited about the number four ranking but we know there is still a lot of season left to play.” 

Dabrowski notes that keeping pace with traditionally powerful league rivals like Colorado and Colorado State has been a strong motivator for the Cougars.

“We pride ourselves in being part of a very difficult region as CU and CSU are always ranked high and we are determined to keep up with them,” Dabrowski said. “We are excited about having the number one seed for regionals as we know the road to the nationals is through the regionals."

WCLA Division 1 National Top 20

 

April 5, 2017

Record

Points

Previous

1 Pittsburgh 11-1 160 1
2 UCLA 8-1 152 2
3 Santa Clara 8-2 142 3
4 Brigham Young 6-0 128 4
5 Georgia 10-3 123 10
6 Colorado State 9-4 120 4
7 Colorado Club 8-3 100 7
8 Virginia Tech Club 5-1 98 8
9 Michigan Club 5-3 93 6
10 San Diego State Club 9-2 84 9
11 Boston College Club 7-1 83 13
12 Texas 9-3 70 11
13 Cal Poly 4-4 62 12
14 Penn State Club 6-1 61 14
15 Central Florida 9-0 48 16
16 Delaware Club 5-0 43 19
17 North Carolina Club 4-1 40 15
18 Virginia Club 6-1 28 18
19 James Madison Club 3-3 23 17
20 Ohio State Club 7-2 13 20