Yellow Jackets Repeat as U15 National Champs
Kyra Harney scored two goals and added an assist to help the Yellow Jackets (N.Y.) repeat as US Lacrosse U15 National Champions with a 10-3 win over Stars Gold (Va.). Harney was one of four Yellow Jackets to make the Lacrosse Magazine All-Tournament Team.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Last year, they were on a mission. This year, they had the bull's-eye on their backs. What will the Yellow Jackets (N.Y.) do for an encore?
Tune in next year to find out. For now, the Yellow Jackets will enjoy their second straight US Lacrosse Girls' Under-15 National Championship, gained with a 10-3 win over Stars Gold (Va.) in the national championship game at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Friday. The Jackets got another balanced scoring effort, highlighted by Lacrosse Magazine All-Tournament Team attacker Kyra Harney's two goals and one assist, and they gradually overcame the hot goaltending of Olivia Cole (10 first half saves) to win a rematch of the 2010 championship game.
"It was a lot harder this year," said Jacket coach Carol Rainson-Rose, whose team won last year's final 12-5 after exiting in the quarterfinals in 2009. "Everyone was gunning for us. But our kids persevered. They played like a team. We spread it out a lot. We basically had two different teams, and we were just rotating them in."
The talent and depth played a role, but domination of the draw controls is what helped the Jackets repeat as national champions. That's something Stars Gold had done in the tournament games thanks mainly to Ana Hagerup, but neither she nor Charlotte Sofield had any sustained success against Yellow Jackets Kaitlin Trombetta and Kasey Mitchell in the center circle.
"I take it lefty to pull it to my team, and I usually tell my teammates where I want them to go," Trombetta said. "I try to target them with all my strength and power. Kasey Behr, Rebecca Tooker and Yuna Hur were really big getting the draws."
The Yellow Jackets began wearing Stars Gold down late in the first half, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 halftime lead. Mitchell scored unassisted at 1:42 and, after a Trombetta draw win, Harney fed Julia Sarcona just 10 seconds later to boost the Jackets heading into halftime. The Virginians struck quickly in the second half, as Sofield won the draw and Avery Donahoe fed Kelly Myers to cut the lead to 5-3 just 30 seconds into the frame. But Stars Gold could not sustain momentum, and back-to-back goals from Harney fueled a 5-0 championship-clinching run.
"It was great to defend our title and come out with a win with a great team," said Harney, who played on the 2010 squad.
"This is getting old," said Stars Gold coach Rick Sofield, with a bit of a smile at the postgame awards ceremony. Stars Gold has advanced to the final three straight years and lost each time. Stars Gold players and coaches lined up and congratulated the Yellow Jackets as they exited the stage with the national championship trophy.
"Little things like draws and turnovers were the difference," Charlotte Sofield said. "When you play a good team, they make good plays. We just needed to step it up a little bit, but all in all our team played really well. It's wonderful to be here, and I'm so glad we came down again."
In besting Stars Gold, the Yellow Jackets shut down a potent offense that, like their own, displayed multiple options throughout the tournament. Sofield, who implored her team to battle in the second half, was held without a point, as was Parker Garret. Hagerup had an assist and Myers just the one goal.
"Our team defense was excellent," Rainson-Rose said. "We weren't going for crazy checks. We were going for body position defense."
Offensively, the Jackets ran into a wall early in Cole, a second-year player in this event and first-time all-tournament team honoree. The time of possession advantage and a better shot selection helped the Jackets solve her.
"I was nervous coming in, but Coach Sofield talked to me and told me they're just any other team," Cole said.
For any given game, perhaps, but for the second straight year, the Yellow Jackets are national champions.
Box Score: Yellow Jackets (N.Y.) 10, Stars Gold (Va.)
Yellow Jackets Goals: Kyra Harney 2, Kasey Behr 1, Kasey Mitchell 1, Monika Sivilli 1, Nikki Ortega 1, Sydney Porreca 1, Julia Sarcona 1, Shayna Pirreca 1.
Yellow Jackets Assists: Kasey Mitchell 1, Emma Gallagher 1, Kyra Harney 1.
Yellow Jackets Goalies: Samantha Giacolone 43:00, 8 saves, 3 GA; Julia Michaels 7:00, 2 saves, 0 GA.
Stars Gold Goals: Ellie Majure 1, Kelly Myers 1, Lizzie Schwien 1.
Stars Gold Assists: Abby Bailey 1, Avery Donahoe 1, Ana Hagerup 1.
Stars Gold Goalies: Olivia Cole 50:00, 12 saves, 10 GA.
Third Place Game: Top of the Bay (Md.) 11, Long Island
Top Guns (N.Y.) 10 (ot)
Gabby Burns scored a free position goal with 1:14 left in overtime to deliver Top of the Bay the bronze medal. Burns' goal came after a thrilling finish to regulation, and it capped a comeback from a 9-6 deficit. Three straight goals from Miranda Ibello gave Top of the Bay a 10-9 lead, but Top Gun Kaileen Hart tied the game with just 36 seconds left. She had the ball lined up for a free position attempt at :00.7 and launched a shot, but the horn at :00.0 sounded before her attempted game winner crossed the goal line. Both teams had the ball in overtime before Burns won it for Top of the Bay.
Lacrosse Magazine All-Tournament
The 12-player team in alphabetical order, with positions and club programs noted:
Kasey Behr, M, Yellow Jackets (N.Y.)
Kathryn Cavallo, D, Stars Gold (Va.)
Olivia Cole, G, Stars Gold (Va.)
Caroline Cummings, M, Nor Cal Elite
Alex Flobeck, D, Yellow Jackets (N.Y.)
Ana Hagerup, M, Stars Gold (Va.)
Kyra Harney, A, Yellow Jackets (N.Y.)
Riley Hill, A, Long Island Top Guns (N.Y.)
Miranda Ibello, M, Top of the Bay (Md.)
Charlotte Sofield, M, Stars Gold (Va.)
Kaitlin Trombetta, M, Yellow Jackets (N.Y.)
Emma Wall, A, Top of the Bay (Md.)