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BALTIMORE – US Lacrosse announced Tuesday the final 18-player roster for the U.S. under-19 women’s national team that will travel to Hannover, Germany, for the 2011 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) U19 World Championship in August.

The U.S. U19 team was trimmed from the 24-player training team after games last weekend against Rollins College and Jacksonville University at Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

“For every single player on the team, it was down to this weekend,” said Team USA head coach Krystin Porcella. “We felt like we made some good decisions [at tryouts] in August that it was that close down to the wire.”

The team includes two sets of high school teammates. Attacker Cortney Fortunato, the team’s youngest player and a sophomore at Northport (N.Y.) High School, will reunite with Northport senior midfielder Shannon Gilroy for Team USA. Attacker Brigid Smith and defender Caileigh Sindall, meanwhile, are both seniors for Good Counsel just outside Washington, D.C.

Attacker Covie Stanwick will continue a family legacy in the US Lacrosse national teams programs. Stanwick’s older sisters Sheehan and Coco played for U.S. Elite and U19 teams, respectively. Coco was the captain of the 2003 U.S. U19 team that won a gold medal at the world championships in Towson, Md. Stanwick’s older brother, Steele, made the 2008 U.S. U19 men’s national team that won gold in Coquitlam, British Columbia, but could not participate due to injury.

The 2011 U.S. U19 women’s national team includes 10 US Lacrosse high school All-Americans, six players each from Maryland and New York, three from Massachusetts, two from Pennsylvania and one from New Jersey. Midfielder Madison Acton, a player-voted captain of the training team who appeared on the cover of the January issue of Lacrosse Magazine, leads the Massachusetts contingent. Midfielder Taylor Trimble out of Philadelphia is a two-time winner of the Heather Leigh Albert Award as the nation’s top high school player at the US Lacrosse Women’s Division National Tournament.

Team USA has won 20 consecutive games in U19 international play dating back to 1999. The U.S. has won gold medals in the last three world championships after falling to Australia in the 1995 final, its lone defeat in 27 games.

The current U.S. U19 team will regroup May 28-29 at Stony Brook University in New York for the US Lacrosse Women’s National Tournament before moving onto the FIL World Championship Aug. 3-14 in Hannover.

2011 U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team
M Madison Acton (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln Sudbury Regional ‘12)
D Alyssa Blevins (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright ‘11)
M Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North ‘11)
A Jen Cook (Towson, Md./ McDonogh ‘11)
G Kelsey Duryea (Beverly, Mass./Governor’s Academy ‘12)
D Christine Ferguson (Weston, Mass./St. Paul’s ‘11)
A Cortney Fortunato (Northport, N.Y./Northport ‘13)
M Shannon Gilroy ((Northport, N.Y./Northport ‘11)
A Erin McMunn (Westminster, Md./Winters Mill ‘11)
M Kelly McPartland (Farmingdale, N.Y./Farmingdale ‘11)
G Allie Murray (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown ‘11)
M Mikaela Rix (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City ‘11)
D Caileigh Sindall (Silver Spring, Md./Good Counsel ‘11)
A Brigid Smith (Rockville, Md./Good Counsel ‘11)
A Covie Stanwick (Baltimore, Md./Notre Dame Prep ‘11)
D Barbara Sullivan (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City ‘11)
M Kayla Treanor (Niskayuna, N.Y./Niskayuna ‘12)
M Taylor Trimble (Rosemont, Pa./Episcopal Academy ‘11)

No. 7 Irish Fall To U.S. National Team, 12-7
Irish second-half rally falls short.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The U.S. National Team withstood a second-half rally from the No. 7 Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team to capture a 12-7 victory in exhibition play on Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The game, which was part of the Champion Challenge, can be seen on tape-delay at 10:00 p.m. (ET) tonight on ESPNU.

Team USA scored the game’s first seven goals, yet the Fighting Irish responded with four straight tallies to slice the deficit to three by the end of the third quarter.

Notre Dame’s surge began just over five minutes into the second half as sophomore attackman Ryan Foley (Glen Ridge, N.J./Delbarton) scored on an assist from junior attackman Sean Rogers (New Hyde Park, N.Y./Holy Trinity). Rogers then netted a goal of his own with 6:16 left in the third quarter.

A man-up goal from senior attackman Colin Igoe (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne/Massachusetts) sliced the Team USA advantage to four (7-3) with 4:23 showing on the clock in the third quarter. Igoe had a team-high two goals on the day. Junior midfielder Max Pfeifer (Crozet, Va./Western Albemarle) scored with six seconds remaining in the quarter to make it 7-4.

Steven Brooks put a halt to the Irish uprising as he made it an 8-4 contest with 14:06 remaining. Igoe scored 30 seconds later on an assist from Rogers.

A 4-0 run from Team USA made it 12-5 with 8:29 left in the game. Stephen Peyser, Peet Poillon, Chazz Woodson and Kevin Leveille scored the unanswered goals.

Notre Dame’s final two scores of the game were man-up tallies. Junior attackman Nicholas Beattie (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) netted the first one with 7:43 left, while senior attackman Edison Parzanese (Edgartown, Mass./Martha’s Vineyard/Holy Cross), a transfer from Holy Cross, deposited the game’s final goal with 4:32 remaining. Senior midfielder Zach Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton) assisted on both goals.

“I thought we made a lot of plays today, but we were just inconsistent,” said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. “The first half could have been closer if we had some poise and finished some opportunities. We were bad during the first 10 minutes of the game and then we really settled down. I didn’t think we played bad for the final 15-20 minutes of the first half.”

The U.S. National Team led 4-0 after the first quarter and 6-0 at halftime. Leveille netted three goals in the opening quarter.

Leveille opened the game’s scoring less than two minutes into the contest and Woodson made it 2-0 on a man-up goal with 10:59 remaining in the opening quarter. Leveille scored with 8:36 left in the quarter and then again with seven seconds remaining.

Doug Shanahan gave the U.S. National Team a five-goal advantage just over one minute into the second quarter. Steven Brooks upped the lead to six with 3:39 left in the half. Steven Boyle opened the second-half scoring as he put Team USA up by seven less than a minute into the stanza.

Notre Dame sophomore John Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep) played the entire game between the pipes and made 10 saves. Former Fighting Irish goalie Scott Rodgers, a 2010 Notre Dame graduate, played the entire second half for team USA. Rodgers made nine saves. Notre Dame held a slim 40-39 edge in shots.

“We came down here (to Florida) with the idea of getting better and I think we accomplished that,” stated Corrigan. “We practiced three times in a little over 24 hours and then played in this game today. We didn’t do everything we wanted to do today, but we need to keep it in perspective that it’s still January and we have a chance to correct our mistakes and get a little more consistent.”

The Fighting Irish will open the 2011 regular season with a national title game rematch versus No. 5 Duke at the inaugural Sunshine Classic in Jacksonville, Fla. The game will be played at Everbank Field, home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. The contest is slated for a 3:00 p.m. (ET) start and will be broadcast live on ESPN.

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | Champion Challenge Blog

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla — For all the new talent infused into the U.S. men’s national team since its gold medal performance at last summer’s world championships, its most reliable weapons Sunday were those most familiar with the program.

Goalkeeper Adam Fullerton, who backed up Brian Dougherty in Manchester, made 12 first-half saves, and attackman Kevin Leveille, an alternate for the 2010 U.S. team, scored four goals in Team USA’s 12-7 victory over Notre Dame in the final game of Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event at ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Fullerton, the former Army standout who also backs up Jesse Schwartzman for the Denver Outlaws, expects to be deployed to the Middle East within the next six months as an artillery officer. He was named the most outstanding player of Champion Challenge.

“It’s a different role for me, but I embrace the new challenge,” Fullerton said of starting for the U.S. “I hope I can be that guy for the next few years.”

Fullerton is currently stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. More specifically, he’s a fire support officer, specializing in indirect fire artillery, mortar fire and deconfliction of air space.

“Kind of complicated, but it’s nothing too crazy,” he said. “My job will translate over to a combat situation eventually, and I’ll take what my training gave me in Colorado Springs and I’ll translate it over there.”

With the same matter-of-fact demeanor he uses to deflect questions of his military commitment, Fullerton shooed away shot after shot from Notre Dame’s big guns from the midfield Sunday. He shut out the Irish in the first half, as the U.S. built a 6-0 lead.

Leveille — who said this week he wants to play for the U.S. when it defends its gold medal in Denver in 2014 — finished two feeds from midfielder Michael Kimmel and another from attackman Chazz Woodson in the first quarter alone. Woodson also scored on a blazing shot from the left wing that pinged inside the top-right corner of the goal. Team USA led 4-0 after the first quarter and extended its lead to six with goals by midfielders Doug Shanahan and Steven Brooks in the second.

Fullerton gave way to former Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers in the second half.

“I would have loved to keep [the shutout] going, but we’re both out here,” Fullerton said. “We took the time out of busy schedules, and it’s good to get Scottie a chance to play against his old buddies. He played outstanding as well.”

Rodgers called Fullerton’s first-half performance inspiring.

“Fully’s going to Iraq in a couple weeks. Inspired play. Watching him play for me being a rookie, watching the way he handles things and composes himself, I learned something today,” Rodgers said. “He played awesome. No goals allowed in the first half, made saves he should have, taking it in the body everywhere — awesome.”

Attackman Steven Boyle scored off a feed from Shanahan to put Team USA ahead 7-0 with 12:05 remaining in the third quarter.

Notre Dame, the No. 7-ranked team in Lacrosse Magazine’s preseason NCAA Division I poll, responded with a 4-0 run to close within three. Attackman Sean Rogers found line mate Ryan Foley with a crease feed from behind the net for the Irish’s first goal, over 35 minutes into the game. Subsequent goals by Rogers and attackman Colin Igoe — on a nice, backhanded putback of his own shot rebounded off a Rodgers save — made it 7-3. Midfielder Max Pfeifer scored on an inverted dodge behind with just 6.8 seconds remaining in third quarter to bring the Irish within three.

Notre Dame had new life going into the fourth quarter.

“We just settled down and played a little bit,” Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said. When you look at the last 20 minutes of that first half, we didn’t play that badly, we just didn’t finish anything. When you’re not finishing anything, then it all counts for naught.”

After the teams exchanged goals to start the fourth quarter, the U.S put Notre Dame away with a 4-0 run of its own spanning just four minutes. Slick finishes by midfielder Stephen Peyser (from midfielder Stephen Berger), midfielder Peet Poillion (behind the back from attackman Craig Dowd), Woodson and Leveille (from Dowd) made it 12-5 Team USA with 8:29 remaining.

The U.S. held off Notre Dame despite six fourth-quarter penalties, including a two-man-down possession it killed. Rodgers finished with six saves in the second half against his former team.

But the laurels belonged to Fullerton, who admitted afterward that he had hoped to get the start despite the hype surrounding the addition of the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Rodgers to the U.S. team. Some criticized US Lacrosse for putting Fullerton on the 2010 U.S. team when Schwartzman, who starts in front of him for the Outlaws, was not invited to tryouts.

“You can’t complain. I’m sitting behind Jesse Schwartzman and Doc. Those are two of the best to play the game ever,” Fullerton said. ” So just to be a part of that, it’s great. I pick things up from them and I’m able to learn from those guys. I wouldn’t change it.”

Igoe scored two goals and Rogers finished with a goal and two assists for Notre Dame in the losing effort. Preseason All-American midfielder Zach Brenneman was held without a goal, but did contribute two fourth-quarter assists on goals by attackmen Nicholas Beattie and Edison Parzanese for the game’s final margin.

The Irish will return to Florida in three weeks for their regular season opener and a rematch of the 2010 NCAA championship game against Duke at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

Face time

U.S. team faceoff specialist Chris Eck, who narrowly missed out being on the 2010 world championship team behind Alex Smith, won 13 of 21 faceoffs.

Afterward, he shared some tips with Notre Dame’s Jake Marmul, one of the players the Irish are looking to take hold of the position this year. Eck showed Marmul his variation of “the plunger,” and afterward wished Marmul good luck.

“Take it to Duke,” Eck said.

Said Corrigan: “That’s one of the best guys in the world at what he’s doing. I was proud of our young guys to go in there and battle with him. They can break that thing down a thousand ways – it’s good to see that kind of curiosity in our guys.”

Doc’s new office

A strange sight, maybe for some, was to see Dougherty on the Team USA sideline as a coach, instead of in the crease as a goaltender. Dougherty, who won gold with Team USA in Manchester, England, in July, assisted Team USA head coach and current Lehigh coach Kevin Cassese. It was Dougherty’s first game on the sideline with the U.S team.

“I could look myself in the mirror and say I had a pretty sweet career, accomplished a lot of things, pretty much nothing left to accomplish,” Dougherty said. “This is something that I really love. I had a great experience last year with the national team. I want to continue to be a part of it. Playing is not going to be there anymore, so give a chance to some of the younger guys. I’ll do whatever I can to help coach, or do whatever they need me to do.”

Dougherty was also hired this summer as the head coach at Division II Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, a program in its second varsity season.

“We’re young,” Dougherty said of the team with no juniors and seniors, only freshmen and sophomores. “Nowhere to go but up.”

News and notes

Notre Dame was without preseason All-American midfielder David Earl, who is nursing a back injury. “He’ll be back at practice this week,” Corrigan said. “Just wouldn’t make sense to put him out there if he wasn’t a hundred percent…” Sunday’s game will be rebroadcast on tape delay by ESPNU at 10 p.m. The U.S. women’s national senior team’s 16-4 victory over defending NCAA Division I champion Maryland will follow at about midnight.

by Corey McLaughlin | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | Champion Challenge Blog

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — It’s not every day — or ever in a college uniform at Maryland — that Karri Ellen Johnson is held scoreless. And it’s rare when Terrapins goaltender Brittany Dipper makes 15 saves, but her team still loses.

But against a caliber of team like the U.S. women’s national senior team, the unusual can and did happen. The U.S. faced defending NCAA champion Maryland on a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon in Florida and took down the Terps, 16-4, at Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The U.S. led 9-0 at halftime behind a suffocating defense that forced 12 turnovers overall and threw Maryland out of rhythm. The U.S. offense followed in turn. Nine different players scored. Caroline Cryer (Duke ‘09) had the most with three goals and Lindsey Munday (Northwestern ‘06) had one goal and four assists.

“For the most part with our team, I don’t know if it’s our personality, but the ride gives us a lot of energy,” U.S. coach Ricky Fried said. “It wears on a team both physically and mentally. We were on-task on that, putting pressure on their hands, making them throw long passes, and we were able to anticipate and come up with interceptions, especially in the first half. Getting nine goals in the first half and them getting zero obviously gives you a lot of confidence.”

Kristen Kjellman (Northwestern ‘07) scored two goals and led the U.S. with three draw controls. Kjellman was named most outstanding player of Champion Challenge. The U.S. won the draw battle, 13-7. Devon Wills (Dartmouth ‘06) started in goal for the U.S. She had had four saves, many on fast break chances, which were by design according to the U.S. game plan, Fried said. Megan Huether (Duke ‘06) played in goal the second half and recorded six saves.

“Luckily we know their moves and tendencies. We kind of had their numbers, who does what and what hand they are,” said U.S. defender Amber Falcone (North Carolina ‘09), who is an assistant coach at Vanderbilt. “The first half we were very together and played high-pressure defense. That allows them to maybe get some quick breaks. Even though they’re a great fast break team, and just a great team obviously – they won a national championship and have a lot of kids back — we have the goalies that can save the ball.”

Sarah Albrecht (Northwestern ‘06) scored two of the first three goals for the U.S. and put the Americans up 3-0 midway through the first half. From there, Munday record a point on four of the next five U.S. goals, scoring one and assisting on three. Two of the feeds were to Kjellman and the other was to Katrina Dowd, both fellow former Northwestern Wildcats.

Kristy Black (two goals) scored Maryland’s first goal 6:09 into the second half to make it 9-1. The U.S. led 11-3 at the end of the third quarter.

“We played together the entire game,” Fried said. “We didn’t have individuals trying to do extra things… The biggest thing we did better today than we did last night [in a 21-6 win over Virginia] was our consistency level. That’s one of the things we challenged them with at halftime. Being up 9-0, it’s sometimes difficult to stay mentally in the game. I thought throughout the day, playing a team the caliber of Maryland, we were able to stay engaged and not allow them to go on any runs.”

Johnson, a junior attacker and Lacrosse Magazine’s NCAA Division I women’s preseason player of the year, had scored at least one goal in each of her 48 career college games at Maryland, but didn’t register a goal or an assist. (Since this was an exhibition and not an NCAA game, Johnson’s scoring streak remains intact.)

Maryland coach Cathy Reese said she was pleased with her team’s effort. The Terps have managed only three outdoor practices this month in snowy Maryland. Temperatures in the 70s, clear skies in Florida and ideal field conditions provided a welcome atmosphere and a preseason chance to tinker. Maryland is LM’s preseason No. 1-ranked women’s Division I team in the nation.

“It was a great opportunity to play against what is considered to be the best in the country,” Reese said. “We were honored to be there, to be a part of it. For us, it’s been really nice to go full field. We had a lot of opportunities at first, but we turned the ball over quite a bit. The U.S. has outstanding defense. They play a really high-pressure style, and they’re super athletic. Having said all that, I thought our girls played really well. We still have a lot of work to do, to be the best team we can be. However, I’m really pleased with what we’ve seen so far.”

Blue wins two

The U.S. women’s national team used a split squad Sunday, with a “blue” squad playing simultaneously against Virginia while the rest of the team played on the main field against Maryland.

Jillian Byers (Notre Dame ‘09) and Danielle Spencer (Northwestern ‘10) each scored five goals and each added two assists in another dominant Team USA effort, a 21-10 victory. Sisters Lauren and Katie Schwarzmann (Johns Hopkins ‘08 and Maryland ‘13) added two goals apiece for Team USA. Michelle Tumolo (Syracuse ‘13) had a goal and two assists. Kendall McBrearty (Virginia ‘08) made nine saves in goal.

In another game that immediately followed Sunday’s first meeting with Maryland, the U.S. women’s blue squad beat Maryland again, 12-5. The game was played with a running clock. Corrine Gandolfi (Hofstra ‘10) led with a hat trick. Katie Schwarzmann, playing against her current college team, had two goals for the U.S., as did Laura Zimmerman (North Carolina ‘12).

CHAMPION CHALLENGE, A US LACROSSE EVENT – LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA.
Team USA 16, Maryland 4
USA – 9 – 7 – 16
Maryland 0 – 4 – 4

Goals – USA: Cryer 3, Albrecht 2, Kjellman 2, LaGrow 2, Dowd 2, Walker 1, Munday 1, Dowd 1, Igoe 1, McFadden 1, Bullard 1; MD: Black 2, Aust 1, Merrifield 1.

Assists – USA: Munday 4, Cryer 1, Dowd 1, Berger 1

Saves – USA: Wills 4, Huether 6: MD: Dipper 15

Team USA Blue 21, Virginia 10

USA Blue - 8 - 13 - 21
Virginia - 5 - 5 - 10

Goals - USA: Byers 5, Spencer 5, Zimmerman 3, L. Schwartzmann 2, K. Schwartzmann 2, Gandolfi, Kaestner, Poole, Tumolo; UVA: Baker 3, Gardner 3, Finnigan 2, Owen, Boyle.

Assists - USA: Byers 2, Spencer 2, Tumolo 2, Gandolfi, Schmidt; UVA: Baker 2, Gardner 2, Owen, Finnigan.

Saves - USA: McBrearty 9, Altig 7; UVA: Kolarik 13.

Team USA Blue 12, Maryland 5

USA Blue – 3 – 9 -12
Maryland – 3 – 2 – 5

Goals - USA: Gandolfi 3, Schwarzman, K. 2, Zimmerman 2, Kaestner 1, Schwarzmann, L. 1, Poole 1, Spencer 1, Schmidt 1; MD: Mollison 1, Johnson 1, Merrifield 1, Aust 1, Kirk 1.

Assists - USA: Tumolo 2

Saves - USA: Altig 1; MD: Dipper 2, Jordan 5

Team Harley Davidson won the Masters Division (35 years +) Championship at this weekend’s MD State Lacrosse Games tournament run by Jim Huelskamp.  Team Harley had already blown through their first 3 games, including a semi-final win over Mr. Boh, to setup a championship match up with Koopers.  Many expected Koopers to give them a much tougher match up than the previous 3 games.  Harley attackman Rob Bates (2 goals) opened the scoring with a nifty inside move.  Koopers quickly retaliated to tie the game at 1-1.  Harley scored to go up 2-1 before the 1st quarter ended.  After a long scoring drought, Koopers scored the first goal of the second quareter to even the game at 2 goals apiece.  Harley then responded with 2 goals including an outside man-up rip from Scott Joyner (3 goals).  The first half ended with Team Harley up 4-2. The game was hard hitting throughout on both sides.  Harley extended their suffocating defense that they showed throughout the tournament.

Harley quickly pulled away in the 2nd half with 3 straight goals.  Koopers added one to pull within four goals going into the 4th quarter.  Harley’s defense shut out Koopers in the 4th quarter and added three goals of their own including one from defenseman Cort Sandstrom.  Harley goalies Rodney Rullman and Chris Mitzel played great throughout.  Rullman turned away a barrage of shots early in the 1st quarter, and Mitzel limited Koopers to just one 2nd half goal.  The 10-3 Harley victory was another in a long history of titles for this team that rarely loses.  This team is largely a carry-over from the former dominate Toyota masters team.  Baltimore area club legends like Mark Hahn, Mark Hoffman, Glenn Norris, and Cort Sandstrom all added another club championship to their resumes.

tournament_image_13Its summer time and you know that can only mean one thing. Lacrosse Tournament season! If you’re a lacrosse enthusiast this time of year is great. There’s no slowing down of the offense, the defenders come out and chase and it’s all run and gun.

This weekend is the Maryland State of Lacrosse Games which is being hosted in Howard County, MD. This tournament was formerly the Charm City Classic (played in Baltimore City’s Patterson Park) a few years back but was moved for convenience reasons and they definitely made a great choice by doing so.

The new venues are amazing. Howard County Parks offer brand new state of the art turf fields plenty of parking and offers a great atmosphere for the games. The tournament will be held over 3 different sites, but even if that takes away from the allure of the bigger tournaments, it offers a break from all the hectic running around in between games. Most teams will be stationed at one spot all weekend which encourages sticking around in between games and watching the competition.

This year’s tournament consists of 32 teams in 5 divisions (Grand Masters, Masters, Elite 1, Elite 2 and a Women’s bracket).

The Men’s Elite division has continuously offered the chance to see top Division 1 players, All-American’s and some of the best post-collegiate teams around. If you live in the Howard County area or are only a short drive away, you should definitely pack up the family, sunscreen and shades and come check out the games this weekend.

For schedules, directions and more information go to www.laxclassic.com.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with US Lacrosse’s Rob Scherr about the trend toward younger recruiting in college lacrosse. He was a heavily recruited keeper out of Baltimore’s McDonogh School before heading off to Johns Hopkins. “I’m not speaking for U.S Lacrosse when I say this, but it’s my personal opinion that it’s crazy how recruited kids are getting younger and younger. These guys should be focusing on school, and getting better, not deciding where they will go to college by their sophomore year in high school.”

I asked him what he thought was responsible for this sudden shift in the recruiting process? He said, “As the game is growing, and we see more players like Will Yeatman coming out of the west coast, college coaches think they have to jump on these kids before someone else does.  It’s just competition.  I remember getting my first letter and it’s a very exciting time.  But when you’re that young you don’t really know how to make a big decision like that.”

The US Lacrosse U-15 National Championship is set to begin July 6, 2009. It will be held in Bel Air, Md. at Cedar Lane Sports Park. The tournament will have boys and girls youth programs from across the nation, competing and representing their respective teams and regions. The girls will kick-off the event July 6, crowing their champion July 8, while the boys start July 8, finishing their National Championship July 10. This 5-day event is special for several reasons. It’s never been done before. And with the more recent trend in recruiting with college coaches striving to commit players at a younger age, it’s refreshing that this tournament has nothing to do with recruiting and everything to do with having fun, building strong competition, and honoring the game. US Lacrosse’s public relations manager Colleen Sperry Aungst explained the origins of the event to me, “Based on the success and positive participant and spectator experience of the US Lacrosse National Youth Festivals since 1998, there was a big desire to roll out a national championship event like this for the lacrosse community. It is our responsibility to take a leadership role in launching the inaugural event to establish a benchmark standard of quality and experience for everyone involved – players, coaches, parents and spectators. ”

In order for a team to register for the tournament they must be a member of US Lacrosse, which means that some states will have an advantage when representing their regions, like Maryland, New York, and New Jersey, simply due to the fact that they have more US Lacrosse members in those regions. The list of teams competing can be found on the US lacrosse site (http://www.uslacrosse.org/news/2009/u15ncteams.phtml).

The West coast amongst other areas has been developing strong youth programs within the past few years, but can they compete with the East coast? Former Johns Hopkins standout goalie Rob Scherr definitely believes so, “I know all those teams will do well. If you’re a great athlete it doesn’t matter where you’re from.” Colleen agreed, “The breadth and scope of lacrosse talent is far reaching these days. There are incredibly competitive teams coming to the National Championship from all over the country.”

Perhaps some new rivalries as intense as the ones Maryland and New York natives are used to will begin at this tournament. One thing is for sure. Come July there will be two new U-15 lacrosse champions, but where will they be from? Tune in to E-Lacrosse to find out.

After speaking with a close friend who happens to be a Division I assistant coach yesterday who was scouting a high school game I realized that the west coast timetable is a bit different. As high school playoffs are still concluding for most of the country, here on the west coast, players are already beginning to dive into camps and equally as important summer leagues.

The summer experience is a bit different than what one might be used to on the east coast. When moving out of populated city areas, such as LA and Phoenix, you find that the rising spots of lacrosse are making both courageous and unique efforts to keep guys playing and loving the game.

The structure of the old Hero’s lacrosse league or Loch Raven lacrosse league in Maryland does not yet exist here in that capacity. Instead, passionate individuals and even the owners of lacrosse retailers have worked to establish a more casual inviting summer league lacrosse experience.

What is amazing is that if you were to spend a few minutes networking through a west coast lacrosse forum you could find a high–school or college field almost every night of the week in the Northern California Bay Area and have an opportunity to play.

A great example is a gentleman named Jaime Poore, a former Chico State standout who hosts a pickup session for all ages on two fields in the town of Santa Rosa California every Tuesday night. He creates a feel of community by using his resources in a developing lacrosse area. He knows that a contribution from every level of player is critical to drive the growth of our sport. It is an amazing vibe to see a Sonoma State starting midfielder get on a line with a rising Varsity high school player and help them pick up their level of play without being annoyed that the high school guy doesn’t get the same concept of team offense and defense.

As long as we have people like Jaime that teach for the love of the game, the growth of lacrosse is in great hands out here.

There’s a reason they hold tryouts. It’s the fair way to choose the U.S. National team. It does not always yield the best team and that can’t be known until the chemistry of the team develops. I personally have seen plenty of every single player on the list in my last entry and tend to think their recent composite performance is more valuable as reliable data than the US Team Tryouts, as entertaining as they are. There are so many combinations possible for great outcomes on the field and everyone could come up with a great team just picking their favorites. I have selected my team, NOT BASED ON TRYOUTS, but completely based on my knowledge of these players and how they might play together. This was a very hard task and I do not envy US Coach Mike Pressler his task next week in Rhode Island. He must take the list of so many great players and pare it down to 40 and then eventually to 23. Here are my 23:

Name - Current Team - College

Attack

Matt Danowski - Long Island Lizards - Duke ‘08
Sean Morris - Boston Cannons - Massachusetts ‘06
Brendan Mundorf - Denver Outlaws - UMBC ‘06

Scott Urick - Washington Bayhawks - Georgetown ‘00
Joe Walters - Toronto Nationals - Maryland ‘06
Matt Ward - Long Island Lizards - Virginia ‘06

Midfield

Matt Abbott - Syracuse - Syracuse ‘09
Steven Brooks - Chicago Machine - Syracuse ‘08
Terry Kimener - Chicago Machine - UMBC ‘08
Ned Crotty - Duke - Duke ‘09
Kyle Dixon - Washington Bayhawks - Virginia ‘06
John Glynn - Cornell - Cornell ‘09
Paul Rabil - Boston Cannons - Johns Hopkins ‘08
Max Seibald - Cornell - Cornell ‘09
Alex Smith - Washington Bayhawks - Delaware ‘07

Defense

Ryan Curtis - Vermont Voyageurs LC - Virginia ‘00
Michael Evans - Johns Hopkins - Johns Hopkins ‘09
Nick O’Hara - Toronto Nationals - Duke ‘07
Chris Passavia - Boston Cannons - Maryland ‘04
Jack Reid - Boston Cannons - Massachusetts ‘06
Kyle Sweeney - Washington Bayhawks - Georgetown ‘03

Goalie

Chris Garrity - Washington Bayhawks - Penn State ‘04
Rob Scherr - Toronto Nationals - Johns Hopkins ‘04

Last guys cut:

Matt McMonagle was a coin toss with my buddy Rob Scherr, Tony McDevitt is just a hair behing Nick O’Hara now, My defense is a disciplined and patient pain machine that can beat Canada’s offense in the game and a fight. Canada is hoping we pick guys like Gagliardi, Spallina and Clausen. Christian Cook would be a great leader and I might have switched him for Chris Passavia, but for Chris’ intensity and the leadership we get out of Ryan Curtis anyway. Curtis takes the Canada 2006 loss personally. We need that, but not too much of it. Jack Reid is a huge star on my team. He’s the wing on face-offs too. He and O’Hara will score some goals on my team too.

Alex Smith, the FOGO (face-off getoff) on this team, is too specialized and not as good an all around player and teammate as Matt Zash, but the big question isn’t who can beat each other at the face-off X, but rather, who can beat Jeff Snider of Canada and Alex is the only player in the world that gives you an even chance. With Jack Reid and Max Seibald or Matt Abbott on wing, we have a chance.

Middies Tom Zummo and Stephen Berger are too good to cut and yet I did. I am hoping both make the team via the tryout. I would have kept Cassese for leadership but I need to have Smith to win. I learned the lesson last time after we benched Paul Cantabene and he watched Snider slaughter us from the sideline. If any lesson was learned in 2006, it’s take the best face-off guy, period.

Attackmen Mike Leveille and Ryan Boyle deserve to make the team but it’s Leveille or Ward and its Boyle or Danowski. We certainly can’t have the ball in more than one stick at a time in the crunch. Remember we are trying to build chemistry. Morris is a must have, Urick may be the MVP of the whole World Games, Mundorf and Walters have matured into reliable scorers and are among the world’s best right now. I might have also chosen Kevin Buchanan. I was sorry to cut him. I’d love to have Mark Kovler on the extra man lefty position too, but we only get 23.

The full list of Team USA tryout invitees is below.

The complete list of selections (updated June 2 2009 – from US Lacrosse) follows:

Attack

Matt Alrich - Boston Cannons - Delaware ‘04
Ryan Boyle - Boston Cannons - Princeton ‘04
Kevin Buchanan - Washington Bayhawks - Ohio State ‘08
Brandon Corp - Boston Cannons - Colgate ‘09
Matt Danowski - Long Island Lizards - Duke ‘08
Dan Glading - Washington Bayhawks - Virginia ‘09
Seth Goldberg - Long Island Lizards - Yale ‘05
Mark Kovler - Long Island Lizards - Princeton ‘09
Kevin Leveille - Chicago Machine - Massachusetts ‘03
Mike Leveille - Chicago Machine - Syracuse ‘08
Sean Morris - Boston Cannons - Massachusetts ‘06
Brendan Mundorf - Denver Outlaws - UMBC ‘06
Ryan Powell - Big Foot LC - Syracuse ‘00
Justin Smith - Washington Bayhawks - Salisbury ‘05
Scott Urick - Washington Bayhawks - Georgetown ‘00
Joe Walters - Toronto Nationals - Maryland ‘06
Matt Ward - Long Island Lizards - Virginia ‘06
Drew Westervelt - Denver Outlaws - UMBC ‘07
Chazz Woodson - Chicago Machine - Brown ‘05
Will Yeatman - Maryland - Maryland ‘10

Midfield

Matt Abbott - Washington Bayhawks - Syracuse ‘09
Stephen Berger - Long Island Lizards - Washington ‘04
Shamel Bratton - Virginia - Virginia ‘11
Steven Brooks - Chicago Machine - Syracuse ‘08
Kevin Cassese - Boston Cannons - Duke ‘03
Jonathan Christmas - Boston Cannons - Virginia ‘05
Dan Cocchi - Long Island Lizards - Towson ‘03
Ned Crotty - Duke - Duke ‘09
Kyle Dixon - Washington Bayhawks - Virginia ‘06
Greg Downing - Boston Cannons - Fairfield ‘07
Chris Eck - Boston Cannons - Colgate ‘08
Benson Erwin - Washington Bayhawks - Johns Hopkins ‘05
Chris Fiore - Long Island Lizards - Massachusetts ‘03
John Glynn - Chicago Machine - Cornell ‘09
Dan Hardy - Denver Outlaws - Syracuse ‘09
Pat Heim - GMH LC - Penn State ‘07
Anthony Kelly - Chicago Machine - Ohio State ‘03
Terry Kimener - Chicago Machine - UMBC ‘08
Brendan Loftus - Chicago Machine - Syracuse ‘08
Bill McGlone - Chicago Machine - Maryland ‘06
Blake Miller - Long Island Lizards - Hofstra ‘96
Jarett Park - Chicago Machine - Syracuse ‘05
Stephen Peyser - Long Island Lizards - Johns Hopkins ‘08
Paul Rabil - Boston Cannons - Johns Hopkins ‘08
Chris Schiller - Salin Shoe LC - Penn State ‘99
Max Seibald - Denver Outlaws - Cornell ‘09
Doug Shanahan - Ft. Lauderdale Flamingos LC - Hofsra ‘02
Alex Smith - Washington Bayhawks - Delaware ‘07
Matt Striebel - Chicago Machine - Princeton ‘01
Peter Vlahakis - Long Island Lizards - Fairfield ‘04
Matt Zash - Long Island Lizards - Duke ‘06
Thomas Zummo - Boston Cannons - NY Tech ‘05

Defense

Mitch Belisle - Boston Cannons - Cornell ‘07
Matthew Bocklet - Denver Outlaws - Johns Hopkins ‘08
Joe Cinosky - Toronto Nationals - Maryland ‘08
Ken Clausen - Virginia - Virginia ‘10
Christian Cook - Capital LC - Princeton ‘98
Adam Crystal - Duke/Tobay LC - Drexel ‘07
Ryan Curtis - Vermont Voyageurs LC - Virginia ‘00
DJ Driscoll - Chicago Machine - Notre Dame ‘06
Barney Ehrmann - Georgetown - Georgetown ‘10
Michael Evans - Washington Bayhawks - Johns Hopkins ‘09
John Gagliardi - Long Island Lizards - Johns Hopkins ‘97
Colin Hulme - Boston Cannons - Colgate ‘07
Ryan McClay - Boston Cannons - Cornell ‘03
Tony McDevitt - Long Island Lizards - Duke ‘07
Stephen McElduff - Boston Cannons - North Carolina ‘06
Parker Mckee - Duke - Duke ‘10
Shawn Nadelen - Washington Bayhawks - Johns Hopkins ‘01
Nick O’Hara - Toronto Nationals - Duke ‘07
Chris Passavia - Boston Cannons - Maryland ‘04
Jack Reid - Boston Cannons - Massachusetts ‘06
Peter Ricci - Washington Bayhawks - Loyola ‘09
Brian Spallina - Long Island Lizards - Hofstra ‘00
Kyle Sweeney - Washington Bayhawks - Georgetown ‘03
Lee Zink - Denver Outlaws - Maryland ‘04

Goalie

Brian Dougherty - Long Island Lizards - Maryland ‘96
Adam Fullerton - Denver Outlaws - Army ‘08
Chris Garrity - Washington Bayhawks - Penn State ‘04
Mickey Jarboe - Quicksilver LC - Navy ‘00
Joey Kemp - Chicago Machine - Notre Dame ‘08
Matt McMonagle - Long Island Lizards - Cornell ‘07
Rob Scherr - Toronto Nationals - Johns Hopkins ‘04
Kip Turner - Boston Cannons - Virginia ‘07

Players Originally Invited But Unable to Attend

Greg Peyser (injury)
Zac Jungers (medical)
Andy Corno (work)
Jed Prossner (work)
Brett Hughes (injury)
Nicky Polanco (injury)
Kyle Harrison (injury)
Matt Poskay (injury)
Eric Martin (injury)
Tim Goettelmann (work)

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