Champs return to the finals
The first, womenslacrosse.com, is the six-time defending champion of the Vail Lacrosse Shootout and has, at times this week, been untouchable.
After wins like the 18-0 mopping of Team Texas in the pool play, everyone was reminded that yes, they’re good and yes, they have about as many weaknesses in their game as Tiger Woods has in his.
The second, Ripple, watched the dot-commers roll through the bracket play in hopes of rematching last year’s semifinal loss. Ripple’s 16-3 win over Crouching Tiger in the semifinals Saturday showed just how quick it can score and just how quick a tight 2-1 contest can transform into the opponent asking themselves if they have enough players on the field.
“I think it’s time for us to win this tournament,” said Ripple’s Tanya Fuchs, who scored two goals in Saturday’s win. Ripple finished fourth last season. “We’ve been adjusting well together all tournament, and I think that’s what it will take.”
Dot.Com, meanwhile, found itself behind 3-2 to Lacrosse International at halftime Saturday. The strange sight had the crowd buzzing – like a Mike Tyson appearance in the Vatican – and a was quickly corrected at halftime. Jacque Wetzel scored all three of her goals in the second half as the defending champs scored four straight times straight out of intermission and rolled 7-4.
In other words, Tyson got the boot.
“We’ve never been behind,” said Michele Dejuliis, a player at Penn State who had two goals in the win. “It was just a matter of settling down and getting everyone comfortable.”
Speed played a factor in both semifinal games and will surely be one this afternoon. Ripple’s Colleen O’Hara, Fuchs, Katherine Jeschke and Kathleen Sheehan lead a rabbit-quick attack that netted them nine straight goals in 14 minutes against the Tigers.
“We’re going to have to slow it down,” said O’Hara, who snagged two goals and two assists for herself. “They’ve got a lot of all-americans and talent. We played them last year. We’re looking for revenge.”
Womenslacrosse.com, meanwhile, is led by former U.S. national team member Randall Flynn on the offense and the height of Brooke Owens on defense. Time and time again, Owens intercepted centering passes only to find Flynn wide open down the field. As the top seed, they’ve have every team speaking of revenge, most as bothersome as a fruit fly. Saturday, though, was a different story.
“I don’t know if our plan worked today,” said Flynn, who pitched in a hat trick Saturday. “They played extremely well.”
Flynn was matched against Ripple’s speedster in Kinsley O’Garrow in the last half of the game. When speed was matched against speed, it was a toss up.
“She knocked me in the dirt,” Flynn said. “I guess the drinks will be on Kinsley tonight.”
Most of the dotcommers, however, are used to the talk of upsets.
“It’s OK. A lot of people talk trash,” Dejuliis said. “I’m all for it. It’s always tough and everyone’s talking, but that’s the fun of it.”
The women’s championship is scheduled for today at 12:30 p.m. at Ford Park.
Team Under Armour upset
In the men’s semifinals, surprising Jammin’ Salmon upset Team Under Armour Saturday 12-11. Armour, the defending champs, spotted Salmon a five-goal lead early, and its second-half comeback fell just short. Salmon will take on the heavily-favored M.A.B. Paints, who stormed past Team Colorado 15-3 Saturday. The Jammin’ Salmon and M.A.B. Paints championship game is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Ford Park.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.