May 27, 2012

Lower New England Wins First Val Walchak Trophy

by Brian Logue | LaxMagazine.com | Tournament Central

STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Lower New England 1 ripped off five straight goals over a 10-minute span in the second half to break open a tight game and defeat Long Island Metro 1, 14-8, in the championship game of the Onondaga Flight at the 2012 US Lacrosse Women’s National Tournament, presented by Harrow Sports and the Heather Leigh Albert Foundation.

The victory was the first for a team from the New England region in the top flight since the advent of the Val Walchak Trophy in 1994, which is presented to the winning team in the Schoolgirls’ Division of the US Lacrosse National Tournament. A total of 62 teams competed in the Schoolgirls’ Division this year.

“We kind of knew that coming in and it gave us more motivation,” said Lower New England midfielder Maeve McMahon.

McMahon’s goal at the 14-minute mark ignited the 5-0 run for Lower New  England after Long Island had pulled to within 9-7 three minutes earlier. Alexandra Dalton then scored two straight goals for Lower New England, which closed out the run with goals by Casey Pearsall and Jillian Doherty.

McMahon, Dalton, Pearsall, Olivia Hampe and Kenzie Kent all had two goals for Lower New England with Hampe and Kent also adding assists. Sidney Pirreca led Long Island with two goals.

Following the championship game, the Heather Leigh Albert Award was presented to McMahon. The award has been presented since 1994 to the outstanding player in the Schoolgirls’ Division. Past recipients include U.S. World Cup team members Lauren Aumiller and Katie Chrest, and a host of other collegiate All-Americans and U.S. National Team members. Past recipients Emma Hamm, a senior at Duke, and Taylor Ranftle, a soon-to-be freshman at Virginia, were on-hand to present the award.

“I was really speechless,” said McMahon, a junior at the Groton School (Mass.) that has committed to play collegiately at Harvard. “Those players that have won it before are amazing.”

The other finalists for the Heather Leigh Albert Award were: Jennifer Giles (Baltimore Metro 1), Kenzie Kent (Lower New England 1), Alexis Maffucci (Long Island Metro 1), Kasey McKinnon (San Diego), Priscilla Reed (DC Metro 1) and Sydney Trentzch (Baltimore Metro 1).

In the other Schoolgirls’ brackets, Long Island 3 defeated Lower New England 3, 10-6, in the Seneca flight. Eastern Shore (Md.) completed its tournament with a perfect 5-0 record by beating Philly 3, 7-5, in the championship game in the Oneida flight. Nor Cal edged state rival San Diego 14-13 in overtime in the final game in the Tuscarora flight. Lower New England 5 added a second championship for the region by beating North Carolina 1, 11-7, in the final in the Mohawk flight. New Hampshire/Vermont 2 edged Pittsburgh, 11-10, in a battle of unbeatens in the Cayuga flight final. Finally, Southern Ohio handled Kentucky/Indiana, 9-4, in the Iroquois flight championship.

In the Seniors Only Division championship, Christina Esposito, Halle Majorana and Alyssa Ferro all had three goals to lead the New York-based Forest team past the Philadelphia-based Royal team 13-12. Esposito, a senior midfielder at West Babylon (N.Y.) High School that is headed to Northwestern, received the Beth Stone Award as the top player in the division.

Two other individuals were also honored with individual awards at the US Lacrosse National Tournament.

Kelly Barnes received the AimeeWillard Award as the top collegiate player in the event. Barnes, a senior defender from Georgetown participated in the Stars & Stripes Division trying out for the U.S. Women’s National Team. She was recently named to the IWLCA All-South Region first team.

Lauren Schmidt received the Beth Allen Award, which is voted on by the U.S. women’s team staff. Schmidt, an assistant coach at Fresno State, was an All-American at Stanford, was a member of the U.S. team from 2009-2011 and participated in the Stars & Stripes Division at this year’s event.

Championship Game Scores:
Onondaga: Lower New England 1 d. Long Island Metro 1, 14-8
Seneca: Long Island Metro 3 d. Lower New England 3, 10-6
Oneida: Eastern Shore d. Philly 3, 7-5
Tuscarora: Nor Cal 1 d. San Diego, 14-13 (OT)
Mohawk: Lower New England 5 d. North Carolina 1, 11-7
Cayuga: New Hampshire/Vermont 2 d. Pittsburgh, 11-10
Iroquois: Southern Ohio d. Kentucky/Indiana, 9-4
Seniors Only: Forest d. Royal, 13-12


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