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Virginia wins in WCLA first round

Virginia Club Upset Highlights Day 1 of WCLA Championship Tournament

May 9, 2023
Paul Ohanian
Mike Caudill

VIRGINIA BEACH — There’s never been an upset in the 1-v-16 opening-round game of the USA Lacrosse WCLA Championship Tournament, but for three quarters on Tuesday, it appeared that history was in the making.

No. 16 seed Florida State was tied with top-seeded Boston College Club, 8-8, through 45 minutes of action, matching the defending champions goal for goal. The fourth quarter is when BC found its extra gear, outscoring the Seminoles 5-0 over the final 12 minutes to secure the 13-8 victory.

Boston College improved to 15-0 and extended its two-year winning streak to 31 games, but not without a fight.

“That was a heck of a game,” BC junior midfielder Julia Szynal said. “A lot of credit to Florida State’s defense, which shut down our attack for much of the game.”

Szynal finished with a game-high four goals to lead BC, which advanced to Wednesday’s quarterfinals against No. 9 seed UCLA, a 13-5 winner over Florida Club.

“This was a great wake up call for us and a reminder that every team here can win,” Szynal said.

Junior attacker Ally Cowan led FSU’s upset bid with a team-high four goals, while goalie Sophia Villalonga anchored the defense with eight saves.

“We knew that we had nothing to lose, and we gave them our best effort,” Cowan said. “We really could have won this game with just a few more possessions.”

While FSU fell just a bit shy in its upset bid, No. 12 Virginia Club did manage to finish the job, defeating No. 5 Utah 13-9. Five goals by sophomore Maddie Brooks led the way for the Cavaliers, who outscored the Utes 4-1 in the fourth quarter.

Virginia aims for a second straight upset Wednesday when it faces No. 4 Michigan Club, which edged Arizona State Club 12-11. Trailing by one at the start of the fourth, the Wolverines began the final stanza with a three-goal run over a span of two minutes to take the lead. They then held off a late charge by the Sun Devils.

“We made it exciting,” Michigan coach Chuck Kennedy said.

No. 6 seed BYU also added some excitement to its opening game against No. 11 Texas, losing a sizeable early lead before rebounding for a 12-8 victory. At one point leading 7-2, BYU saw Texas tie it at 7 late in the third quarter before rallying for the win.

“The third quarter was not our friend,” BYU coach Summer Stephenson said. “One of the best parts of being at the nationals is the great competition, and our girls really wanted it. We were motivated.”

Ultimately, the top four seeds in the tournament advanced to the quarterfinals, with No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 Pitt Club both winning rather easily.

Georgia built a 12-2 halftime advantage and cruised to a 20-7 win over No. 15 Michigan State. Six goals from junior Ryanne King and two goals and four assists from freshman Kayleigh Page led the way for the Bulldogs.

Four players had two goals each, and 12 different players scored at least once for Pitt in its 18-6 win over No. 14 Washington. The Panthers have a strong history in Virginia Beach, having won the WCLA championship in two of the previous three visits.

Action resumes Wednesday with Division I quarterfinal games, as well as the opening round games in the Division II tournament. For complete details, visit

DJO and Gatorade serve as official event sponsors for the 2023 USA Lacrosse WCLA Championships.


(1) Boston College Club 13, (16) Florida State 8
(2) Georgia 20, (15) Michigan State 7
(3) Pitt Club 18, (14) Washington 6
(4) Michigan Club 12, (13) Arizona State Club 11
(12) Virginia Club 13, (5) Utah 9
(6) Brigham Young 12, (11) Texas 8
(7) San Diego State Club 10, (10) Northeastern 8
(9) UCLA 13, (8) Florida Club 5


All games begin at 2 p.m. Eastern.

(1) Boston College Club (15-0) vs. (9) UCLA (10-4)
(2) Georgia (18-2) vs. (7) San Diego State Club (13-3)
(3) Pitt Club (8-2) vs. (6) Brigham Young (10-5)
(4) Michigan Club (12-6) vs. (12) Virginia Club (9-6)