No. 1 seed Utah State, No. 2 Denver and No. 4 Loyola all claimed spots in Friday’s WCLA Division II semifinals by each finishing 2-0 in round-robin play Thursday. The final semifinal berth will be determined on Friday morning following the completion of pool play. 

Utah State, ranked first in the national poll all season, earned its first national semifinal berth after registering wins over New Hampshire, 14-12, and Portland State, 18-2. 

Four goals each from All-Americans Naomi Hunsacker and Faith Ritchie led the Aggies to their opening win over UNH.  Their dominating win over Portland once again featured a four-goal effort by Hunsacker, four goals from freshman Aimee Brown, and scoring from seven other players.

Utah State brings an 11-2 record into Friday’s semifinal, with both losses coming against Division I teams.
 
“This has been a record-setting season for our program, and we’re excited to keep it going,” said USU coach Krista Call, named the national Division II coach of the year on Wednesday. “We have a lot of talented players on this team and they are dedicated to each other.”

Utah State will face defending national champion Loyola Maryland Club in Friday’s semifinal. 

The Greyhounds advanced with a pair of lopsided wins, beating Air Force, 16-4, and Oakland, 18-8. Loyola is making its fifth straight appearance in the national semifinals. The Hounds are 12-1 on the year with an eight-game winning streak.

“We lost a lot of good players to graduation last year, but have some strong newcomers this season who have helped us,” said senior defender and club president Joanna Messina.

Included in that group is freshman Elizabeth Murphy, who contributed four goals in the win over Oakland.

Two-time champion Denver Club earned its fourth straight semifinal berth, but it didn’t come easy. The Pioneers withstood a second half rally from Grand Valley State to win their opener, 13-9, and later worked overtime to secure their second win in dramatic fashion against Nevada Reno.

Leading by one goal in the final minute, a Denver turnover provided Nevada with one final chance. A full field dash by the Wolfpack’s Rachel Kehoe yielded a foul in the critical scoring area, which Kehoe converted on a free position bouncer with six seconds remaining to force the extra session.

A huge stop by Denver goalie Sophie Bloss in the first three-minute sudden death session kept the game tied, and set the stage for more heroics in the second three-minute session. The winner came off the stick of Denver’s Sophie Vernon, set up by an assist from Megan Lynch.

“We knew this was going to be a tough game because we had seen Nevada play and knew that they were much better than a number 11 seed,” said Denver coach Mindy Stone. “There are more strong teams every year, which is great for the growth of the WCLA.”

The fourth semifinal spot will be determined on Friday morning. Navy Club controls its own destiny after beating No. 3 seed St. Thomas, 11-9, on Thursday. If the Mids defeat Utah Valley on Friday, they seal the semifinal berth. If Utah Valley wins, then a tie-breaker will be used to advance either Navy, Utah Valley or St. Thomas.

Both the D-I and D-II national semifinal and championship games on Friday and Saturday will be available for viewing via free streaming on www.laxsportsnetwork.com.  

Harrow Sports serves as the official event partner for the 2019 US Lacrosse WCLA National Championships, while US Lacrosse’s national partners, Motive Pure, Pearl by Guardian, Nationwide, Impact Canopy, Krossover, SISU and Sports Performance Tracking provide additional event support.

WCLA Division II Semifinal Games - Friday, May 10
4 pm - No. 1 Utah State (11-2) vs. No. 4 Loyola (12-1)
7 pm - No. 2 Denver (10-3) vs. St. Thomas/Navy/Utah Valley

WCLA Division II Pool Play Scores – Thursday, May 9 
No. 1 Utah State 14, No. 8 New Hampshire 12
No. 1 Utah State 18, No.12 Portland State 2 
No. 2 Denver 13, No. 7 Grand Valley State 9 
No. 2 Denver 11, No. 11 Nevada Reno 10 (2ot)
No. 6 Navy 11, No. 3 St. Thomas 9 
No. 3 St. Thomas 15, No. 10 Utah Valley 14
No. 4 Loyola 16, No. 5 Air Force 4 
No. 4 Loyola 18, No. 9 Oakland 8