WNT Tryouts: Next Generation of Young Talent Swoops In
|Goalie Devon Wills, USC assistant under head coach and Team USA teammate Lindsey Munday, will try out this weekend for the 2014-15 U.S. Women’s National Team, a tryout process she knows well after being named to the practice squad for MLL's New York Lizards. (Scott McCall)|
Friday marks the first day of tryouts for the U.S. Women's National Team at Georgetown University, home of Hoyas and Team USA coach Ricky Fried. With only nine players returning from last summer's championship squad, which took home the gold medal with a 19-5 win over team Canada at the FIL World Cup in Oshawa, Canada, Fried will be looking to fill the void of those who opted not to try out, including one of the program's traditional leading scorers, Katie Rowan, and top defender, Amber Falcone.
This weekend will showcase the top talent in the country as part of a new revamped and streamlined tryout process inspired by the men's national team. All participants were invited to try out after a thorough application process evaluated by a selection committee and the team's coaching staff, as opposed to an open first round of tryouts.
On Sunday, between 36-40 players will be named to the 2014-15 U.S. Women's National Team and will immediately begin orientation and training in preparation for the 2017 FIL Women's World Cup in Surrey, England.
This new style of tryouts will present the coaches and players with a new set of challenges, including increased competition and tougher decisions. Nerves will intensify as players take the field Friday afternoon for their first session of drills after a welcoming speech by Fried. Excellence is expected for this national team, which has won seven world titles of nine world games, the last two coming in 2009 and 2013.
Tewaaraton Award finalist and Maryland rising senior defender Megan Douty knows exactly what she needs for this weekend: the five P's. "Proper preparation prevents poor performance," she said.
With the tryouts being held in June, current players are in peak condition, fresh out of their seasons. Douty will join seven other Terps, including five from this year's championship team — defender Alice Mercer, 2014 Tewaaraton winner and midfielder Taylor Cummings, midfielder Kelly McPartland, assistant Caitlyn McFadden and director of operations Alex Aust.
One alum, 2013 Tewaaraton winner Katie Schwarzmann, and one incoming Terps' freshman, the top recruit in the country Megan Whittle, will also take the field. Whittle can be compared to Hopkins attacker Colleen McCaffrey, who was the only high school player named to the U.S. national team pool in 2008.
"It's always been a dream of mine to have the honor of representing my country, and being given this opportunity to try out alone is incredible," said Whittle. "I'm only 18, and I have so much time to accomplish all that I dream of and to see how far lacrosse can take me. I understand now that all of the work I put in would be for nothing if I didn't enjoy every second of it. I'm proud of where I am, but I know what I am capable of and I will continue to work my hardest to get to where I want to be."
Will the stars align this weekend? Veteran Michelle Tumolo (Syracuse) thinks so. She will be relying on the best advice she's ever received from her high school coach Megan Conklin, who said, "Shoot for the moon because if you miss, you'll still be among the stars."
Among these stars are 11 first-team All-Americans from this recently-completed college season: Nikki Boltja, Alyssa Murray, Mikaela Rix, Meg Markham, Sloane Serpe, Margaret Smith, Taylor Virden, Kayla Treanor, Cummings, McPartland and Douty. Others, like 2013 World Cup alternate Taylor D'Amore and 2014 Tewaaraton Award finalist Shannon Gilroy, are not in the tryout pool. Nevertheless, the amount of talent on the Multi-Sport Field at Georgetown will be unmatched.
"It is a feeling that you get that you simply can not explain," said Team USA veteran Kelly Rabil, formerly known as Kelly Berger, who is the wife of U.S. men's national team member Paul Rabil. "A pride that you have, knowing that you are not only playing for your teammates but for your country, representing the place that has given so much to you."
Donning the red, white and blue is held with high esteem for those trying out, including Syracuse attacker Kasey Mock, who greatly respects this opportunity hoping to bring back more meaning of the sport to her hometown Pottstown, Pa., where it is not as popular. For vet Sarah Bullard, she thanks her mom for making her try lacrosse as young girl. She recalled first picking up a stick at a sports camp in fifth grade before her mom signed her up for the town's inaugural team.
"I have been wearing the USA uniform in some capacity since 2007, and it never loses its magic," said Bullard. "It is an honor and privilege to represent your country, and I have felt that every time I've worn the uniform."
As the leader of the defense alongside the lone returning defender from the 2013 World Cup team Jen Russell, Devon Wills, who was named to the New York Lizards practice squad this spring, will likely become a mentor for many as a female breaking into the ranks of the top male players in Major League Lacrosse. Those on the younger end might hear something along the lines of how Wills says she approaches a practice or tryout.
You play like you practice and, as a gold medal champion, Wills will do just that, treating the tryout like a practice, the practice like a game and the game like a championship.
Player Breakdown by Position
Only nine players are returning from the 2013 FIL World Cup, which include Lindsey Munday, Katrina Dowd, Danielle Etrasco, Kelly Rabil, Caitlyn McFadden, Sarah Bullard, Katie Schwarzmann, Jen Russell and Devon Wills. Four players — Alex Aust, Taylor Cummings, Kayla Treanor and Taylor Trimble — were added to the Team USA roster for the Stars and Stripes weekend in October 2013, following the announcement of Gina Oliver, Megan Huether and Sarah Albrecht's retirement from the squad, and are listed as U.S. program veterans below.
The remaining veterans listed have either played for Team USA at other events, were named to the training roster or have been a part of the tryout process in the past. As members of the 2011 World Champion U.S. Women's National Under-19 Team, Covie Stanwick, Erin McMunn, Cortney Fortunato and Kelsey Duryea are now looking to join the women's national team. McPartland, Rix, Treanor and Trimble were also members of that team.
Number of Players: 25
College Most Represented: Syracuse (4)
Graduation Year Most Represented: 2015 (8)
Lindsey Munday (Northwestern, 2006), Katrina Dowd (Nortwestern, 2010), Colleen McCaffrey (Johns Hopkins, 2012), Danielle Etrasco (Boston University, 2013), Alex Aust (Maryland, 2013), Michelle Tumolo (Syracuse, 2013), Caroline Tarzian (Georgetown, 2015) and Kayla Treanor (Syracuse, 2016).
Becky Lynch (North Carolina, 2011), Jaclyn Sileo (LIU Post, 2014), Nicole Boltja (Louisville, 2014), Alyssa Leonard (Northwestern, 2014), Alyssa Murray (Syracuse, 2014), Covie Stanwick (Boston College, 2015), Kerrin Maurer (Duke, 2015), Stephanie Finley (James Madison, 2015), Faye Brust (Louisville, 2015), Erin McMunn (Princeton, 2015), Kyle Fraser (Stanford, 2015), Courtney Swan (Virginia, 2015), Erica Geremia (SUNY Cortland, 2016), Marisa Romeo (Harvard, 2017), Cortney Fortunato (Notre Dame, 2017), Taylor Poplawski (Syracuse, 2017) and Megan Whittle (Maryland, 2018).
|Team USA head coach Ricky Fried will evaluate a largely young group this weekend at U.S. women's national team tryouts. About 75 percent of the players in the tryout pool graduated this year or beyond. Eyes are set on the 2017 FIL World Cup. (John Strohsacker)|
Number of Players: 26
College Most Represented: Maryland and North Carolina (4 each)
Graduation Year Most Represented: 2015 (7)
Kelly Rabil (James Madison, 2007), Caitlyn McFadden (Maryland, 2010), Sarah Bullard (Duke, 2011), Laura Zimmerman (North Carolina, 2012), Katie Schwarzmann (Maryland, 2013), Taylor Trimble (Duke, 2015), Kelly McPartland (Maryland, 2015) and Taylor Cummings (Maryland, 2016).
Gabby Capuzzi (Ohio State, 2012), Emily Garrity (North Carolina, 2013), Lauren Kahn (Connecticut, 2014), Katie Rotran (LIU Post, 2014), Kathryn Webster (Syracuse, 2014), Mikaela Rix (Boston College, 2015), Gabrielle Christman (Cal, 2015), Amanda Kidder (Duquesne, 2015), Taryn VanThof (Loyola, 2015), Erin Slifer (Princeton, 2015), Caroline Margolis (Boston College, 2016), Jillian Horka (Boston University, 2016), Lucy Dikeou (Stanford, 2016), Nicole Tiernan (Temple, 2016), Allison LaBeau (Lehigh, 2017), Anna Schueler (Michigan, 2017), Maggie Bill (North Carolina, 2017) and Molly Hendrick (North Carolina, 2017).
Number of Players: 23
College Most Represented: North Carolina (4)
Graduation Year Most Represented: 2015 (7)
Jordan Trautman (Georgetown, 2009), Katie Hertsch (Hofstra, 2010), Jen Russell (North Carolina, 2010) and Becca Block (Syracuse, 2013).
Taylor Virden (Duke, 2014), Sloane Serpe (North Carolina, 2014), Margaret Smith (Notre Dame, 2014), Chelsea Intrabartola (Rutgers, 2014), Kasey Mock (Syracuse, 2014), Alyssa Dunlap (Vanderbilt, 2014), Gabrielle Moise (Duke, 2015), April Iannetta (Hofstra, 2015), Alexis Cross (James Madison, 2015), Megan Douty (Maryland, 2015), Courtney Waite (North Carolina, 2015), Meg Markham (Penn, 2015), Morgan Stephens (Virginia, 2015), Maddison Lesher (Loyola, 2016), Elizabeth Goslee (Marquette, 2016), Alice Mercer (Maryland, 2016), Mallory Frysinger (North Carolina, 2016), Meghan Macera (Virginia Tech, 2016) and Lauren Maiorano (Dartmouth, 2017).
Number of Players: 10
College Most Represented: None (1 each)
Graduation Year Most Represented: 2015 (3)
Devon Wills (Dartmouth, 2006), Kendall McBrearty (Virginia, 2008) and Liz Hogan (Syracuse, 2011).
Kelsey Gregerson (Hofstra, 2015), Schylar Healy (James Madison, 2015), Kelsea Donnelly (Towson, 2015), Shannon Nee (Connecticut, 2016), Kelsey Duryea (Duke, 2016), Caroline Federico (Johns Hopkins, 2017) and Caroline Waters (North Carolina, 2017).
Player Breakdown by College
Thirty-two colleges will be represented this weekend, with the most players hailing from North Carolina (10), Maryland (8), and Syracuse (8). Breaking into the Division I-packed tryouts are two players from Division II's LIU Post (attacker Jaclyn Sileo and midfielder Katie Rotan) and one from Division III's SUNY Cortland (attacker Erica Geremia).
|Boston College – 3||Dartmouth – 2||Harvard – 1||Lehigh – 1||Michigan – 1||Ohio State – 1
||Stanford – 2||Towson – 1|
|Boston University – 2||Duke – 6||Hofstra – 3||Loyola – 2||North Carolina – 10||Penn – 1
||SUNY Cortland – 1||Vanderbilt – 1|
|Cal – 1||Duquesne – 1||James Madison – 4||Marquette – 1||Northwestern – 3||Princeton – 2
||Syracuse – 8||Virginia – 3|
|Connecticut – 2||Georgetown – 2
||Johns Hopkins – 2||Maryland – 8||Notre Dame – 2||Rutgers – 1
||Temple – 1||Virginia Tech – 1|
Player Breakdown by Graduation Year
About 75 percent of the players in the tryout pool graduated this year or beyond, which speaks volumes to the next wave of talent that will take the 2017 FIL World Cup by storm. Interestingly enough, 14 players will represent the class of 2014. Among the tried-and-true veterans of the group are goalie Devon Wills and attacker Lindsey Munday, who both graduated in 2006, while the youngest of the bunch is Maryland incoming freshman attacker Megan Whittle of the McDonogh (Md.) dynasty. She would graduate from Maryland in 2018.
|2006 – 2||2008 – 1||2010 – 4||2012 – 3||2014 – 13||2016 – 14||2018 – 1
|2007 – 1||2009 – 1||2011 – 3||2013 – 6||2015 – 25||2017 – 10|
Where do they draw their inspiration and motivation?
Going into this weekend, the national team hopefuls are coming fresh out of their college (or high school) seasons, for those who currently play. But their nerves will still be high and each player will be digging deep to push themselves like never before in hopes of representing their country on an international stage. The sample of inspirational quotations below, attributed to phenoms in other sports to U.S. coach Ricky Fried himself, showcases these players' characters and shapes who they are as individuals.
"Never lose the hunger." – Northwestern coach Kelly Amonte Hiller to North Carolina midfielder Maggie Bill during a recruiting visit her freshman year of high school.
"I don't care if the ball is 40 feet above your head. Figure out a way to catch it. There are no excuses." – Boston University coach Liz Robertshaw to attacker Jillian Horka.
"The only person who can stop you is yourself." – Boston College coach Acacia Walker to midfielder Caroline Margolis.
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." – NBA great Michael Jordan, inspiring Maryland midfielder Kelly McPartland.
"Mistakes are part of the game. It's how you react to mistakes that makes the difference." – Coach Ricky Fried to Rutgers assistant Katie Hertsch.
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