June 22, 2013
Both the BBL 2016 and BBL 2017 girls teams advanced to Sunday's semifinals of the US Lacrosse Northeast Championships.
photo credit: Matt Risley

Semifinal Pairings Set for U15 Northeast Championships

by Paul Ohanian | LaxMagazine.com

AMHERST, MASS. (June 22, 2013) – A full Saturday of lacrosse brought the conclusion of pool play and the start of quarterfinal bracket competition in the boys' and girls' U15 divisions, as well as the crowning of a U11 girls champion at the US Lacrosse Northeast Championships, powered by Lacrosse Unlimited.

Play resumes at 8 a.m. Sunday on the University of Massachusetts campus with boys' and girls' U15 semifinal matches.

The most dominant team to date in the girls' U15 division has been the Yellow Jackets 2017 team from Long Island. They concluded pool play with a 4-0 record while allowing just 10 goals and earning the top seed in the championship bracket. The Yellow Jackets showed no letdown in the quarterfinal, besting #8 seed Tri-State Elite (N.J.) 19-3. Alexandria Di Chiara paced the Jackets with four goals in that game, while Jamie Ortega and Natalie Langella added three goals apiece.

"We've got a very tight knit group," said Coach Scott Huff. "Many of the girls have played together for three or four years now. They work hard and there's good balance all over the field."

Yellow Jackets 2017 will face BBL 2016 (N.J.) in Sunday's semifinal. BBL 2016, the #4 seed, played in the day's most exciting game by beating #5 seed Yellow Jackets 2016, 12-11, in triple overtime. Bridget Ballard tallied the game-winning sudden-death goal by controlling the draw to start the third extra session and sprinting to the cage. She netted the winner on a left-handed runner over the goalie's left shoulder to send her team into Sunday's semifinal. The victory was the second of the day for BBL 2016 against Yellow Jackets 2016. The two teams had also played a tightly contested pool play game earlier in the day, which BBL 2016 won 12-6.

"It's very hard to play a good team twice in a row and beat them both times," said BBL 2016 Coach Samantha Warner. "Fortunately, we maintained our patience in the overtime and came out on the winning end."

The other U15 girls' semifinal features two more New Jersey teams, with Ultimate Elite facing BBL 2017. Ultimate finished 2-0-1 in pool play to earn the #2 seed, then bounced #7 seed Connecticut Dodgers 16-4 in the quarterfinals. Eleven different players scored for Ultimate, paced by three goals from Sydney Anhut.

BBL 2017, the #3 seed, advanced by rallying for a 12-10 quarterfinal win over #6 NESLL (N.H.). BBL 2017 trailed 8-6 at halftime but outscored NESLL 6-2 in the second half as Schuyler Bixby tallied three goals for the first-year club team.

"We're learning how to play together," said Coach Martin Bowker. "We have lots of new kids and had only played in one prior tournament. But we're having fun."

Long Island Express earned the top seed in the boys' championship bracket after finishing pool play with a 3-0 mark. The Express earned a quarterfinal bye, and face #4 seed Next Level (R.I.) in the semifinal. Next Level thumped #5 seed Central Pennsylvania 18-1 in the quarterfinal round, with 12 different players scoring. Matthew Manown led the way with a game-high four goals.

"This is a new team for this regional and we didn't play very well yesterday," said Coach Steve O'Donnell. "We moved the ball much better today."

Sunday's second semifinal features #2 seed New Jersey Northeast, which also earned a quarterfinal bye, against #3 seed New Jersey Northwest. NJ Northwest defeated Plymouth (Mass.) 13-7 to advance.

In the U11 girls division, Tribal (Mass.) Lacrosse defeated Greenwich (Conn.) 8-5 in the championship game to win the title. Tribal, comprised of second, third and fourth graders from the towns of Topsfield, Middleton and Boxford, is in its third year together and won its second tournament of the season. They also defeated Franklin Select (Mass.) en route to the title.

"The girls were motivated because we lost to Franklin in another tournament last week and wanted to even the score," said Coach Jon Shuman.

Regardless of Sunday's championship results, all four U15 boys and girls semifinalists have already clinched invitations for the next month's US Lacrosse U15 National Championship, powered by Lacrosse Unlimited, at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

For complete scores and schedules, please visit www.uslacrosse.org.


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