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Team Norcal Girls Make Waves In the Desert!

By Colleen Niklaus, 01/28/19, 2:15PM PST


U14 Girls 2023/24 Go Undefeated at 2019 Sandstorm!

Sunny.  Dry. A warm 73 degrees.  Snow-capped mountains in the background; rows of palm trees in the foreground.  Winter in the desert. Perfect conditions for lacrosse...for Sandstorm 2019.


Amidst the gorgeous setting and 59 sprawling grass fields, the fire within Team NorCal Lacrosse girls was raging.  The girls 2023/2024 team, entered in the 8th grade division, came out strong. Their intensity continued throughout the tournament.  They finished undefeated, narrowly missing out on a play-off berth.


On the offensive side, they were hot.  Over 5 games, they finished with 41 total goals scored, an average of 8.2 per game.

Although they did not match their Bonanza record of 40% of goals scored being off assists, they did still produce a respectable 25% assisted goals.  In lieu of assists, for this tournament they relied on setting picks and relentless off-ball movement to create lanes for their teammates. Also a key factor was draw controls; a combination of the Center, with a near perfect record of steering the ball to our attack, and the Middies securing possession either in the air or a fight for an important ground ball.  


On the defensive side, the trend continues.  The goalies (Lauren and Caoilinn) were, as per usual, solid!  They combined for a total of 28 saves, an average of 5.6 per game.  The tournament seemed to be dictated by the strong defensive unit of Team NorCal, with defensive stops, solid checks and other caused turnovers, and smooth transitions up to the offense.  The defensive unit only allowed 19 goals, which turned out to be the 3rd fewest number of goals allowed in the entire 48-team Girls 2023 division. Quite impressive! Less than 4 goals allowed on average per game is clear evidence of the defensive powerhouse this 2023/24 team is.  Shout outs to the entire defensive unit: Goalies Caoilinn and Lauren, the Defenders Maya, Logan, Riley, Sofia S, and Arianna, and the Middies Ellie, Taylor, Sofia N, and Lilly.


Game recaps…

Bursting out of the gates, Team NorCal started off with a bang.  The first goal of the weekend, came on a beautiful pick by Sofia N for Taylor who, with authority, drove to cage and fired a cannon!   More team connections and strong defensive stops accounted for 2 solid wins.

Then, in the third game of the day in the sweltering heat, in an intense battle with MadDog, it looked like Team NorCal was to be at last defeated.  Although the Center was still able to direct the ball towards her offensive side, the MadDog Middies often came up with the ball. TNC coaches made the necessary adjustments in the line-up and the team increased the intensity and was able to claw their way back from a 1-4 deficit.  Although the team unified and came together tremendously in the face of defeat, it turned out to not be enough to secure a play-off berth. The final score was a 6-6 tie, the only tie of the tournament for either team. However, the team was not discouraged, but rather expressed their pride in one another for their well-fought come-back.  A truly positive and unified team, ever displaying the best sportsmanship.

The next day, the intensity rose again in a back-and-forth battle of strategy, patience and defensive stops versus the tough competition of Wave, with whom Team NorCal always finds great competition.  The play-by-play could be summarized as every 5 minutes a goal: 0-1, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, and finally 2-3 at halftime. Second half, however, Team NorCal took control with 2 more goals and not a single goal allowed 2nd half.  As the game was nearing the end, it came down to a huge defensive stop and caused turnover by Sofia S, then the team fighting with all their might to possess and protect the ball to run out the final 90 seconds of the clock.  Final score: 4-3 Team NorCal.

To round out the weekend, Team NorCal finished on a high note with another win, this one quite decisive at 9-3.  


Notable stats / tournament totals…

Team record = 4-0-1 (W-L-T)

Team goals scored = 41

Team goals allowed = 19

Goalkeeper saves total = 28 (14 saves Caoilinn, 14 saves Lauren)

Goal scoring leaders = Lane (11), Amelia & Taylor (6 each)

Assist leaders = Kendall & Ellie (3 each), Taylor (2)

Draw controls (gaining possession of the ball after the draw has been taken) = Taylor (7), Sofia N (4), Ellie (3)

Contested ground balls = Ellie (14), Taylor (12), Lane & Sofia N (10 each)

Interceptions = Sofia S & Shannon (2 each), and 7 players with 1 interception each

Caused turnovers = Kendall & Sofia N (3 each), and Arianna, Lane, Taylor, Sofia S (each with 2)

Blocked passes or shots = Arianna (4), Sofia S & Maya (2 each)


Great weekend, Team NorCal!