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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Lacrossing into new territory

By David Whorpole

With a staggering 13 wins and just one loss this season, the Western women’s lacrosse team will be heading to the national championships for the first time in club history.

The Vikings won the Northwest Women’s Lacrosse League title over schools from all across Washington and Oregon. This is the second time Western has won the Northwest region, and the first time the team will advance to nationals, as it did not receive a bid to the tournament in 2015.

Senior co-captain Amanda Hultz is excited for nationals, but isn’t getting her hopes up when thinking about the team’s chances overall.

“It’s hard to say if we would be the winning national team,” Hultz said. “There definitely are a lot of really good teams we’ll face.”

Senior goalie Sheri McCarty is heading to nationals in her final year at Western. McCarty has been the goalie since her freshman year.

“You really get to know these girls and love them for who they are,” McCarty said. “Even though we have very, very different personalities, everyone just kind of melds together, and the fact we have so many different personalities is what makes us work so well as a team.”

The women’s lacrosse team practices Tuesday, April 25. // Photo by Jonathan Pendleton

Without a professional coach or manager to assist in planning, it’s up to Hultz, junior Amelia Chirichigno and senior Sarah Wyrick, the team’s co-captains, to handle everything.

“We plan every practice,” Hultz said. “We do the lineup and our own subbing while we’re playing, which can be tricky.”

Every year the Vikings compete in a tournament in Santa Barbara, California, against lacrosse clubs outside of their league. However, there was some unpredicted flash flooding at this year’s tournament, and many of the games had to be canceled.

Freshman Jessica Alvaro attended the Annual Santa Barbara Shootout tournament and spent much of it in a hotel room with her teammates.

“We had a lot of bonding time,” Alvaro said. “It sounds weird and dumb, but we got to do homework together, which you don’t really think of as a bonding experience, but it made it a little bit more bearable.”

Western eventually played, and won, two games in the tournament, one of which they won in overtime.

The Vikings only loss of the season would come against the University of Washington in week two.

“You really get to know these girls and love them for who they are. Even though we have very, very different personalities, everyone just kind of melds together, and the fact we have so many different personalities is what makes us work so well as a team.”

Sheri McCarty, senior goalie

“The biggest thing that really benefited our team was that first loss we had at the beginning of the season against UW,” McCarty said. “It allowed us to understand, even though we’re a good team, we can [still] lose.”

At the regional championships held in Seattle, the Vikings faced off against the University of Oregon in a match that went into two rounds of overtime before McCarty made a crucial game-saving stop, and Wyrick scored the game-winning goal.

“There’s been a lot of improvements [over the season],” McCarty said. “We started off with a fresh defense. We got lucky and had a couple girls that were freshmen come up and have a really strong presence on defense.”

The team is headed to nationals for the first time May 10-13, in Salt Lake City, Utah. // Photo by Jonathan Pendleton

The national tournament hasn’t taken place yet, but the Vikings have already received many awards from the Northwest Women’s Lacrosse League.

Chirichigno won midfield MVP and top draw-controls, which is the face-off to start or restart play. Wyrick won top assister, McCarty won goalie MVP and freshman Haley Johnson won top goal-scorer.

The Vikings are currently fundraising for the national championship through a VikingFunder page where people can donate to support their trip to Salt Lake City.

They have raised over one-third of their goal of $10,000 with just a few weeks left before the championship begins.

The national championship will be held May 10 to 13 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and consists of the best teams from each region, for a total of 16 teams from all over the country.

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