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Vermont beats San Marcos in the WCLA semifinals.

Vermont, Providence Advance to WCLA Division II Final

May 9, 2024
Paul Ohanian
Nick Flynn

WICHITA, Kan. — If familiarity breeds contempt, Friday’s WCLA Division II championship game (11 am CST) between league rivals Vermont Club and Providence should be a doozy.

Both teams claimed national semifinal victories Thursday in Wichita, with No. 4 seed Vermont steamrolling over No. 1 seed CSU San Marcos, 12-2, and No. 3 Providence rallying to beat No. 2 Boise State, 10-9, in overtime.

That sets up the fourth meeting of the year between the two Northeast Women’s Lacrosse League (NWLL) members. Vermont won the first two meetings, but Providence captured the most important one, beating the Catamounts 9-8 in the NWLL championship game three weeks ago.

“We know them and they know us,” said Vermont’s midfielder Olivia Robitaille, who was Thursday’s hero for the Friars by scoring the overtime game-winner on a free position shot 1:12 into the extra session.

Robitaille finished with a team-high three goals, including an earlier free-position with 10:04 left in regulation that punctuated a second half rally and gave Providence its first lead of the game at 11-10.

Boise, the last undefeated team in the country, tied the game with 1:00 left on Ana Huether’s fourth goal of the game, setting the stage for the overtime heroics.

“I wasn’t really nervous even though I had the game riding on my shoulders,” Robitaille said. “I usually try to shoot low, but I went high this time and I didn’t really see it go in. I just know that it did because I got mobbed by my team.”

Providence (10-3) earned its first trip to the national championship game, but knows what will be waiting.

“Our games against Vermont are always competitive and very physical because we know what they do and they know what we do,” Robitaille said. “There will probably be a lot of cards.”

Unlike the drama of Providence’s victory, Vermont’s semifinal win over CSU San Marcos had no suspense. The Catamounts used a stifling defense that completely handcuffed the Cougars, who scored twice in the first quarter and were then shutout for the final 45 minutes of the game.

“Our defense worked really well together today,” said sophomore defender Dylan Kropp. “We had lots of good rotation and hedged on the ball a lot. It was probably our best group effort of the year.”

While the Vermont defense was locking down CSUSM’s offense, the Catamounts methodically pulled away. Maren Nitsche’s second goal late in the second quarter helped build the lead to 5-2 at halftime.

The second half featured two goals by junior Hallie Kreppein and three from Annika More as Vermont punched its ticket to the final game. Vermont (9-3) returns to the championship game for the second time in three years. UVM lost 13-11 in the 2022 final played in Texas.

“We’re absolutely stoked to be going back to the championship game,” Kropp said. “We’re a confident group right now.”

USA Lacrosse is providing free video streaming of all D-I and D-II games throughout the tournament. Links for video streaming can be accessed at  

Gatorade, Enovis, Lacrosse Specialties, and Powell Lacrosse serve as official event sponsors for the 2024 USA Lacrosse WCLA Championships, with local support provided by Wichita Wind Surge, Chick-Fil-A Wichita East, Visit Wichita, Chicken N Pickle of Wichita, Angelo's Italian Catering, Tanganyika Wildlife Park, and Butler Creative TV.