Day Two of tryouts for the 2012-13 U.S. women's national
team were held Saturday in hot Baltimore on the campus of
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com
— The longest, most grueling
and possibly most important day of tryouts for the 2012-13 U.S.
women’s national team tryout came and went Saturday. And
while Day Two was as much about the players present, conversation
centered on a notable absence: Acacia Walker, who on Thursday announced her
Walker, named Boston College’s head coach in
, had been a long-standing U.S. national team
program participant since 1999, as a member of the gold-medal
winning Under-19 team. Her athleticism and positive encouragement
emanated anytime she took the field for Team USA.
all miss her out here, and to the veterans who have been playing
with her for a while, her presence is known,” said All-World
attacker Lindsey Munday, who was elected team captain earlier in July at
the North American Challenge Cup
. “It’s a
decision she did not take lightly. We’re all out here playing
for her and wishing she was still here. Above anything, she was so
positive and happy to be on the lacrosse field, inspiring other
people and playing for her teammates. It was infectious to
Regina Oliver, recently named head coach at
: “I was really emotional and bummed
about Acacia not trying out this year… She’s been a
leader on this team for so many years. We’ve been through a
lot of things together. I gave her a call [Friday] night to give me
a pep talk, and keep me going. Her biggest thing was her
positivity. Her game was always at the top. Her leadership and
being a veteran, and keeping the young ones coming back and being
there when you need someone to say, ‘You’re good.
I’m with you.’”
Walker’s absence, veteran leadership became a recurrent
former Northwestern All-American and head coach at USC, chanted
encouragement from the sidelines yelling, “Here we go
U.S.” Later Munday — sitting out the tryouts while
recovering from a broken left wrist — stood in the middle of
the attack huddle and helped organize the unit during 5-on-4
“I try to
be involved as much as possible,” Munday said.
“It’s a really nerve-racking weekend for everybody, for
veterans and for players who are trying out for the first time. I
remember when it was my first tryout, so I just try to be positive
and get people to open up as much as possible.
Berger and defender Holly McGarvie were especially vocal during
drills. Oliver broke down the team into a slow clap at the start of
the second session, then gathered the group together for a
“Everybody is really stepping up. The younger kids have been
outspoken, and the veterans like Amber [Falcone], [Kelly] Berger
and Sarah [Albrecht], and I could keep going on and on,” Jill
Byers said. “Even Munday. She’s hurt. She’s on
the sidelines. But she’s so supportive. I can her hear voice
out on the field.”
Guns vs. Old School
when asked if she looked around and noticed her veteran status.
“It’s nice, because they’re running circles
around me,” Oliver said, chuckling. “It’s
Megan Huether, Oliver is one of only two 2005 college graduates
trying out. The rest graduated in 2006 or later.
“I’m kind of seasoned, knowing what we have to do and
what they’re looking for. We’ve been really good about
helping kids who are here for the first or second time, keeping
them together,” Oliver said. “To be on my way out and
see the new players with the fire in their eyes coming into tryouts
having the same dream of wearing that Team USA garb is
A few young
up-and-comers stood out Saturday. Johns Hopkins midfielder Taylor
D’Amore picked up several nice ground balls. Tewaaraton
finalist Brittany Dashiell, a midfielder for Florida, initiated
aggressively from up top.
Under-19 national team members Tatum Coffey, a midfielder for Penn
State, and Kelly McPartland, a midfielder for Maryland, worked well
within the offense.
“I’m so excited to be here, playing with my idols and
people who I look up to,” Coffey said. “I’m so
glad to be here with my U19ers. That was such a great experience,
and we’re excited to get the chance to do it
fellow U-19 team leading scorer Cortney Fortunato is the youngest
player at the tryouts. A rising senior at Northport (N.Y.) High,
Fortunato finished a flashy behind-the-back shot in small-sided
drills Saturday that attracted the attention of players observing
on the sidelines. Several asked, “Who was that?”
has been playing awesome,” Oliver said. “A lot of
things are new for her, but she fits right in here.”
Selection Committee: “The Best
Yale coach and women’s national team selection committee
chair Anne Phillips said the final touring roster will comprise
exactly 36 players. And from the 82 players trying out Phillips
said the selection committee tries to “bring to the World Cup
the 36 best players who play best together.”
committee evaluates every player in four category descriptions:
technically (stick work), tactically (lacrosse IQ), physically
(speed, quickness, burst) and psychologically (mental toughness,
leadership, intangibles). None of the selectors have players’
names; they only have their anonymous pinnie numbers.
“We’re trying to bring consistency and transparency to
the process,” Phillips said.
temperatures in the low- to mid-90s in suburban Baltimore on Friday
and Saturday, several players dealt with complications from
dehydration. Midfielder Erica LaGrow (North Carolina ’08)
didn’t miss any time, but required treatment. Defender Linley
Block (Syracuse, ’13) and midfielder Nicole Price (Mount St.
Mary’s ’11) participated Friday but not Saturday. The
coaching and training staff took extra precautions, shortening
training sessions and encouraging drinking fluids while forcing
those not playing indoors.
- There were
several late adjustments to the tryout roster. Defender Sam Farrell
(Florida ’13) and defender Taylor Thornton (Northwestern
’13) did not make it to Catonsville. Attacker Kitty Cullen
(Florida ’13) was out due to injury. Attacker Karri Ellen
Johnson (Maryland ’12) was a late addition.
- A few
injuries of note: Goalie Huether (Duke ’05), who suffered a
concussion at the North American Challenge Cup, and attacker
Danielle Spencer (Northwestern ’10), recovering from a torn
hip labrum, were non-active participants. Defender Madeline Keeshan
(Virginia ’14) broke three bones, including her ankle, about
15 minutes into drills on Friday. Keeshan said she “heard a
pop” when the injury occurred. 2011-12 national team members
University ’13) and Kristin Igoe (Boston College ’11)
are dealing with nagging injuries and have been in-and-out of
drills. Defender Kristen Carr (North Carolina ’10) tweaked
her ankle in Saturday morning’s session.
- Katrina Dowd,
former Northwestern All-American attacker and U.S national team
member since 2009, on Saturday was formally announced as an assistant at
North Carolina under Jenny Levy
. Dowd spent 2010 as an
assistant with Denver and 2011 as an assistant for national
runner-up Syracuse. “I’m really excited and psyched.
It’s a great opportunity and Chapel Hill is such a special
place,” Dowd said. “They had an opening, and I know
Jenny well. I played against her for four years, and I worked
Carolina’s camp, so she was familiar with my style —
the way I coach, the way I play. And it seemed like such a good
fit. The opportunity is perfect for what I’m looking for now.
They’ve always done a tremendous job of recruiting, bringing
in great athletes and lacrosse players.” Dowd leaves for
Chapel Hill on Tuesday.
- Jillian Byers
is headed back to Notre Dame. As introduced in late June, the
All-American attacker will return to the Fighting Irish after
spending three years as an assistant at Yale. After finishing
tryouts this weekend, Byers will drive to South Bend and she starts
full-time on Monday. “I’m ecstatic, and I can’t
wait to be back,” Byers said. “I didn’t even know
there would be an opening there. But it’s Notre Dame, and I
couldn’t say no to my alma mater. I’ll hit the ground
running right away, and the kids get back in a week-and-a-half.
I’m really excited to go back home.”