Lacrosse: Bears Fall to Card in Tourney Final

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For all intents and purposes, lacrosse as we know it was invented by the Iroquois Indians in New York. That state, along with five other states on the Eastern Seaboard, produces more great high school lacrosse talent than anywhere in the country.

Stanford has 15 players from that golden belt of lacrosse. Its rival, Cal, has seven. And those numbers were nearly perfectly dispositive of the final score of yesterday's Mountain Pacific Lacrosse League championship at Memorial Stadium.

Julia Calzonetti scored four times in the game's first 23 minutes as the Cardinal built a 10-2 lead en route to a 16-7 win in the inaugural league tournament title game.

"If girls play more when they're young, it is obviously an advantage," Calzonetti said. "We could always go watch a game , and we learned."

And it showed. Twelve of Stanford's 16 goals came from freshmen or sophomores who grew up in one of lacrosse's three traditional hot spots. Calzonetti played on Long Island. Jess Scott and Nina Pantano, who combined for five goals, are from suburban Philadelphia. And Stanford's best player, freshman Kelsey Twist, is from Baltimore.

"There are great athletes everywhere, but we know our lacrosse experience and stick skills will be more developed when we get to school," Twist said.

The game did start on a nice note for Cal, as fifth-year senior Sarah Wheatley tallied a goal just 25 seconds into play to open the scoring. Wheatley is Cal's all-time leading scorer, but was shifted to a defensive role this season.

"When you're always marking their strongest player, it's much harder to attack and score goals," said Halsey Monger, who recorded an assist in her final game as a Bear.

The Bears did mount a mini-run to pull within 11-6 early in the second half. Colleen O'Mara scored a pair of sweet crossing passes from Monger and Kelley Queisser.

Stanford, however, would pull away again, as Twist and Pantano scored in a 30-second span to push the margin back to seven.

Cal has not beaten Stanford since 2000, and the obvious question looms-why can the Cardinal get the bigger quantity of recruits from the powerful Eastern programs? And the answer is just as obvious.

"Well, they do have a lot more money, and they can recruit a lot more players from out there," Monger said.

Cal head coach Jill Malko is just as aware of the situation as her players, and six of her eight recruits for 2003 come from the golden belt.

"Those players generally come in with more confidence, and they can start contributing from their freshman year," Malko said.

But that's 2003. Yesterday's game was more about the trio of Californians who played their final game in the blue and gold. Laura Kado, who scored two more times against the Cardinal and who always seemed to be in position for a shot. Monger, who led the team in ground balls and constantly hustled in a manner befitting a future naval officer. And Wheatley, the heart and soul of the squad who sacrificed her own statistics for the good of the Bears.

"I'm bummed to lose three quality people like Laura, Halsey, and Sarah," Malko said. "But we had a great four years together--I have no regrets."


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