Loyola Club won its first national championship and Michigan Club claimed its second title in four years with victories Saturday at the US Lacrosse WCLA Championship Tournament in Round Rock, Texas. 

No. 1 seed Michigan defeated No. 3 BYU, 11-7, to cap an undefeated season with the Division I crown, while No. 2 seed Loyola (Md.) downed No. 1 Denver, 14-3, to win the Division II trophy.

Michigan’s swarming defense held the high-scoring Cougar offense to its lowest goal output of the year and single-digits for just the third time in 19 games this season. Senior Amanda Riesmeyer, named the tournament’s most outstanding defender, was matched against All-American attacker Briana Arnold for most of the day and helped limit BYU’s offensive catalyst to just two goals, both coming on free position shots.

“We knew how tough she was and we just committed to going as hard as we can,” Riesmeyer said. “I like face guarding, but it’s a team effort with quick slides and with fronting the cutters.”

Michigan’s effective defense resulted in two long BYU scoring droughts, one that lasted 16 minutes in the first half and the other that went 15 minutes in the second half. The Wolverines capitalized with an 8-1 scoring run over 26 minutes that overlapped the two halves to establish a comfortable lead. 


 
UM’s Ashley Bonnoitt was named the tournament’s most outstanding attacker after finishing with a game-high three goals. She is one of nine Wolverine seniors who are bookending their careers with WCLA titles, having also won the 2015 championship as freshman.

“It means a little more winning it as seniors because I think we appreciate all the hard work we’ve put in over four years,” Bonnoitt said. “There’s great chemistry among us all.”

UM’s freshman Maddie Collins, named earlier this week as the national rookie of the year, was also selected as the tournament’s most outstanding goalie after recording 12 saves. 

The Wolverines join Cal Poly (7 titles) and Colorado State (4) as the only D-I teams with multiple WCLA titles. Michigan also becomes the first undefeated champion since 2013, finishing with a 19-0 record.

BYU finishes the year with a 16-3 record and made its first championship game appearance.

In Division II, Loyola stormed to a 10-0 halftime lead and never looked back to claim its first WCLA championship. The Greyhounds were nearly flawless at both ends of the field during the opening 30 minutes to take total control.

Sophomore Kelly O’Krepkie, named the tournament’s most outstanding attacker, finished with eight points on four goals and four assists as she directed the offense. Michaela Smith finished with four goals and three assists, and senior Madison Craft, the tournament’s most outstanding midfielder, scored a game-high five goals.

“We knew how much this one meant to us, and we came out strong and energized,” Craft said. “Today was one of the greatest games we’ve ever played.” 

While the offense was executing to near perfection, the defense also performed in tight cohesion, holding Denver to its lowest scoring total in four years. Junior Joanna Messina was named the tournament’s most outstanding defender and Kendra Farrell was selected as the most outstanding goalie. She finished with 12 saves, including eight stops in the first half shutout.

Loyola’s win avenged its loss to Denver in last year’s championship game. 

“We knew we were going to kill it today,” said team tri-captain Emma Gristina. “We talked a lot this season about last year’s loss because it left a bitter taste in our mouth. We knew this was our year.”

With today’s victory, the Greyhounds finish 14-2 on the year with a season-ending 11-game winning streak.  Loyola also improved to 16-6 all-time in WCLA Tournament play, the most wins of any D-II program. They had two previous national runner-up finishes, in 2010 and 2017. This time, they captured the big trophy.

“The energy was so much different this year,” Messina said. “It felt like our time had come.”

Loyola’s 11-goal margin of victory was the largest ever in the D-II championship game. The Greyhounds finished with 68 goals in four tournament games, the second highest total in tournament history. 

Saturday’s Division I Consolation Bracket Games 
3rd Place:  Virginia 15, North Carolina 8
5th Place:  Georgia 12, Delaware 9
7th Place:  Pitt 9, San Diego State 8
9th Place:  BC 19, Cal Poly 7
11th Place: UCLA 18, Colorado 10
13th Place: Penn State 12, St. Mary’s 9
15th Place: Texas 14, Oregon 13

Saturday’s Division II Consolation Bracket Games 
3rd Place: Vermont 16, Providence 10
5th Place: New Hampshire 18, SMU 6
7th Place: St. Thomas 12, Grand Valley State 8
9th Place: Utah State 9, St. Ben 8 (2ot)
11th Place: Portland State 9, Oakland 8

For full results from the US Lacrosse WCLA Championship Tournament, please visit uslacrosse.org/wcla2018