Nor Cal Elite Wins US Lacrosse Girls' U15 West Regional Championship
Catriona Barry of Nor Cal Elite Green drives upfield against Generation Next in the gold medal game of the US Lacrosse Girls' U15 West Regional Championship. Nor Cal Elite took the gold and a free, automatic bid to the US Lacrosse National Championship next month in Orlando with a 12-2 win.
PHOENIX -- To nobody's surprise, Northern California's Nor Cal Elite Green came away with the 2012 US Lacrosse Girls' U15 West Regional Championship Sunday, sweeping all six tournament games through the three-day event, including a convincing 12-2 win in the title game over Generation Next of Orange County, Calif.
What might have been surprising was the ease with which Nor Cal Elite Green swept through the tournament.
"I was a little surprised," Nor Cal Elite Green coach Richard Murphy said. "You don't really know what you're going to get when you get here, and we just kind of came together."
Aside from Sunday morning's 10-6 win over Northern California's Triple Threat National in a semifinal, Nor Cal Elite Green blew through its opponents.
Generation Next coach Yvette Cervantes was not surprised.
"I think we played an exceptional team," she said. "They are a well-oiled machine."
Nor Cal Elite Green set the tone in Sunday's title match with four quick goals -- two by Catriona Barry and one apiece by Sophia Donovan and Ashlyn Gray.
Generation Next's Julia Taylor's lengthy rush and her shot past goalie Cameron Geiger cut the lead to 4-1, but not for long as Nor Cal Elite Green's Gianna Coffin netted her first of two goals quickly after for a 5-1 lead on the way to an 8-1 halftime lead.
Barry had four goals in the game and Donovan two.
In Sunday's semifinal win, Barry and Donovan each scored two goals apiece. Triple Threat's Samantha Brasher and Erin Silliman each had two goals.
"I liked the way we moved the ball up the field and got the ball back instead of running the ball," Murphy said. "We have a lot of unselfish kids."
Generation Next barely survived Sunday's semifinal game, defeating Arizona Desert Heat Black, 8-7, in overtime.
To Cervantes, the tournament was a great experience for her kids.
"I don't think my girls had ever seen the speed and a transition game like [Nor Cal Elite Green's]," she said. "Their transition game and double- and triple-teams are the way Northwestern does it. Our girls had never seen athleticism like that.
"From my perspective, I'm really proud of my team. My girls only had three practices together and they were able to compete with [Nor Cal Elite Green]. The final score was not the way we wanted to go out, but you have to look at the bright side. The next time my girls see them, they'll know what to expect."
Generation Next's Lauren Bernardy had three goals and Samantha Leyds two in their semifinal win. Leyds' second goal held up as the game winner in overtime.
Arizona Desert Heat Black's Aly Smith had two goals.
The four semifinalists, Nor Cal Elite Green, Generation Next, Arizona Desert Heat Black and Triple Threat National, earned automatic invitations with free or discounted registration to the US Lacrosse Girls' U15 National Championship, July 24-26 as part of the ESPNHS Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. There, they'll be a part of as many as 32 of the nation's best U15 teams to determine the national champion.
Additional automatic invitations to Orlando will be extended June 8-10 as the US Lacrosse Central Regional Championship descends on Arlington, Texas.
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