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No. 3 seed UCLA returns to national semifinals.

WCLA D1 Semifinals Set: Florida Club, Georgia, UCLA & Northeastern

May 8, 2024
Paul Ohanian
Nick Flynn

The top three seeds all claimed victories Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the WCLA Championship Tournament, earning berths into Thursday’s national semifinals.

No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Georgia, and No. 3 UCLA will be joined by No. 5 Northeastern as they vie for the 2024 Division I championship.

For the second straight day, top-seeded Florida started slowly, but rallied in the second half for a 14-9 win over Virginia Tech Club. The pattern of slow starts doesn’t appear to bother the Gators.

“We’re comfortable making adjustments during the game based on what we are seeing on the field,” said coach Ben Churba. “And a lot of the credit for that goes to the players. They are the ones that make the suggestions.”

Utilizing a more patient offense in the second half helped the Gators pull away and claim the program’s first national semifinal berth.

Three goals apiece from senior Isabella Milam and junior Carolee Jones, along with two goals and three assists by junior Brooke Papenfuss, keyed the offense while the Gators’ defense limited the Hokies to just two second half goals.

“Making the final four is just another way this team keeps breaking through barriers,” Churba said.

Florida advances to play Northeastern, which also earned its first semifinal berth in program history. The Huskies scored the first four goals against Pitt and never trailed, winning 16-10. A game-high five goals from midfielder Ellie Morrall, including three scores in the first 20 minutes, triggered the quick start. Seniors Hannah Boylan and Molly Burnes added three goals apiece.

“We didn’t do as well as we had hoped last year at the Nationals, so we really came here determined to play well this year,” said Burnes, who also serves as club president.

Northeastern also gained confidence through its success in the Northeast Women’s Lacrosse League this spring.

“We beat (two-time defending champion) Boston College twice his year, so we knew we had a chance to have some success when we arrived here,” Burnes said.

Thursday’s second semifinal will feature a familiar presence in Georgia, which was national champion in 2016 and national runner-up in each of the last two seasons. The Bulldogs displayed gritty determination in defeating Michigan Club, 7-5, in a ball possession game on Wednesday, with sophomore attacker Kayleigh Page tallying four of Georgia’s goals.

“We stayed with what was working, and the give and go was clicking for us on offense today,” Page said. “We knew that isolation plays wouldn’t work against Michigan.”

Page said that Georgia’s loss in the Southeastern Women’s Lacrosse League tournament last month has served as motivation in Wichita.

“It was devastating to lose in the SWLL tournament, but it’s also been the wake up call that we needed,” Page said. “We’re excited to be playing teams here that we haven’t seen this year.”

One of those teams will be UCLA, which advanced to the semifinals for the second time with a 12-5 win over Clemson. Freshman Caroline Underwood, one of 10 members of the Bruins’ freshman class, tallied a game-high four goals to lead the way.

“With so many newcomers on the team, many of us didn’t know what to expect being here at the national tournament,” said Underwood, who was named the national rookie of the year earlier this week. “But now that we’re here, we are motivated to win the championship. It’s all about our mentality.”

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.

Wednesday's Division i quarterfinal scores

#1 Florida Club 14, #9 Virginia Tech Club 9
#2 Georgia 7, #10 Michigan Club 5
#3 UCLA 12, #11 Clemson Club 5
#5 Northeastern 16, #4 Pittsburgh Club 10

thursday’s Division I national semifinals 

 9 a.m. ---  Florida Club (16-1) vs. Northeastern (11-3)
11:30 a.m. – Georgia (16-1) vs. UCLA (15-1)