Atlanta Boys, N.C. Girls Rule USL Southeast
Hughes Moffett scored four goals to lift the Atlanta
Coyotes to a 9-6 win over the Jacksonville (Fla.) Lacrosse Club in
the final of the US Lacrosse U15 Southeast Regional
RALEIGH, N.C. – They had Carolina on their minds, and now they’ll head to Disney World for the big dance.
Behind four goals from Hughes Moffett, the Atlanta Coyotes boys’ team wore down the Jacksonville (Fla.) Lacrosse Club, 9-6, to win the US Lacrosse Under-15 Southeast Regional Championship, presented by Champion, at the CASL Complex today.
In the girls’ final, North Carolina defended its home turf against Cincinnati, using three first-half goals from Madeline Bromley to jump out to a 7-1 lead and win, 12-6.
Both teams earned automatic bids and free registration to the third annual US Lacrosse U15 National Championships, also presented by Champion, July 20-24 as part of the ESPN Rise Games in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
“To come out here and work so hard to have it culminate with us winning a championship, it means a lot for the program and for the kids especially,” Atlanta boys’ coach Shaun Lux said.
Moffett scored twice in the first half to help Atlanta turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead.
The Coyotes led 5-4 at halftime, after which Moffett again keyed a three-goal spurt to put the game out of reach. He scored unassisted 3:08 into the third quarter, and then Max McCrady assisted on back-to-back Atlanta goals. He fed Jeremy Garr (2g, 1a) midway through the period and then found Moffett with 2:29 left to force Jacksonville to call timeout trailing 8-4.
Six players scored for Jacksonville, and goalies Graham Gaver and Ambrose Givens combined for 10 saves to keep the Floridians within reach.
“It’s kind of our MO. We’ve started slowly,” Lux said of his team’s games during the three-day event, which ran alongside the participation-based US Lacrosse Lax Fests for the U11, U13 and U15 levels. “But we got into our groove and got the pressure on and took it home.
“Hughes is one of those kids that can play any position. We needed some speed down there so he took over the game and finished the ball for us. We’re glad to have him.”
North Carolina's Madeline Bromley (right) works against
Cincinnati's Savannah Lee during the final of the US Lacrosse U15
Southeast Regional Championship.
North Carolina coach Jen Flaherty is glad to have Bromley. The eight-year lacrosse veteran scored three times in less than eight minutes in the first half to stake Carolina to a 6-1 lead. She opened the scoring by cutting to the front of the goal circle and converting a feed from Jessica DeLuca (3a) at 19:22. About 90 seconds later she scored on a free-position shot before again finding the back of the net from the center of the turf at 11:39.
Moriah Flynn scored two of Cincinnati’s four first-half goals as her squad closed to within 9-4 at the break. Cincinnati kept the momentum with goals from Natalie Utt and Mackenzie McMillan to cut the deficit to 9-6.
But Jaclyn Perkins (2g) answered at 18:08 for North Carolina, which controlled much of the rest of the game to win the championship on its home turf.
“It’s so exciting because North Carolina really isn’t on the lacrosse map yet,” Bromley said. “It’s an honor because we’re representing our state.
"We wanted to show everyone else in the South that North Carolina is ready to play in Florida for the national championship.”
Julia Whittelsey finished with nine saves for Cincinnati, which also will make the trip to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex next month.
“It means a lot to the girls,” said Flaherty, a former attacker at the University of North Carolina and a 17-year resident in the state. "It’s our first year and it’ll go down in history. We’re the first team to win this championship.”
More than 50 of the nation's best U15 boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams are expected to converge on Orlando for the US Lacrosse National Championships, an event that features talented teams from the sport’s traditional strongholds and the best from lacrosse’s developing areas. It’s become an annual litmus test for the latter.
“I’m excited to see the level of play and for the girls to be exposed to that level of play,” Flaherty said. “We’re going to see some great teams. It feels good to win this, but it’s only one step. We’ll see if we can handle some pressure down in Florida.”