January 29, 2011

U.S. U19 Training Team Sweeps

by Corey McLaughlin | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | Champion Challenge Blog

U.S. U19 training team midfielder Kelly McPartland in action Saturday against Jacksonville in Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event.

© Scott McCall

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- In their last time on the field together before final cuts are made for the U.S. Under-19 women's national team, the U19 training team swept a pair of college squads -- Division I Jacksonville University and Division II Rollins College -- in a doubleheader Saturday at Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Florida.

Midfielder Kelly McPartland (Farmingdale, N.Y.) had three goals and an assist and attacker Covie Stanwick (Notre Dame Prep, Md.) had two goals and two assists in a 12-8 win over Rollins. Stanwick put up identical numbers in a 12-10 win over Jacksonville, and midfielder Mikaela Rix (Garden City, N.Y.) scored three straight goals in the final seven minutes of the first half to help the U.S. to a victory in the nightcap.

"It was awesome," Rix said. "A lot of us are going to college next year, so it was really good to see what that competition looks like. We played really well as a team today, and that's the most important thing, because we don't play together all the time. We really came together as a team."

This was the first time the team had played together since the Stars and Stripes event in October, and the first time a U19 women's team had faced college competition. U.S. coach Krystin Porcella came away impressed with her group.

"We were anxious for the games," Porcella said. "We hadn't really met since October, so it was neat to get two practices in and step on the field against college-level teams. It was neat to see how physical the college level is and how well our girls responded to it, because all our kids play high school. There's not as much contact allowed, not as aggressive. But it was great. They're natural athletes and natural competitors, so they stepped up to the challenge."

The training team, full of stars of high school and club teams, came together this weekend for practices and the doubleheader of games, and also to be evaluated. The 24-member training team roster will be trimmed to 18 players by the U.S. coaching staff Sunday. Those 18 players will travel to Hannover, Germany to participate at the FIL U19 World Championships Aug. 3-13.

Porcella said the staff will meet Sunday to discuss final cuts and announce the team Monday.

"It's going to be really tough," Porcella said. "The hard part is you have to look a couple in the eyes and say you're not part of the travel squad, but you're still part of the program. ... There are some players who have stood out every time we've met. There some who have done good things and some who have done average things. Sometimes when you're average playing against this level, it isn't good enough, but they're still good players."

In the first game gainst Rollins, the U.S. built a 6-2 halftime lead behind a two-goal, one-assist half by McPartland.

"She's been quiet and reserved," Porcella said of McPartland. "But she really kind of came out in this game and we said, 'Wow.' We know she has some great shots; she's a great finisher. Today she created those opportunities and she showed what she has."

The U.S. led 10-3 with 20 minutes to go before Rollins finished on a 5-2 run. The team took a 30-minute break, then walked to an adjacent field at the ESPN Wide of World of Sports complex to take on Jacksonville, a team that returned 13 players from its 2010 squad that finished 8-11 overall and 4-2 in the National Lacrosse Conference.

Jacksonville responded to an early 2-0 U.S. lead and led 4-3 with 9:12 left before half. But Taylor Trimble (Episcopal Academy, Pa.) scored on a pass from Stanwick to tie the score at 4 about two minutes later. After a Brigid Smith (Good Counsel, Md.) goal for the U.S., Rix won a draw, and scored her first of three straight goals with 6:26 to go in the first half. The U.S. led 8-4 at the break, went up 12-8 on a Cortney Fortunato (Northport, N.Y.) goal with 9:52 left in the game and held off a brief Jacksonville rally.

Kelsey Duryea (Governor's Academy, Mass.) started in goal for the U.S. in both games. She made one save in about 15 minutes against Rollins and played the first half against Jacksonville, making three saves. Trimble, Rix and Smith split the draw controls throughout both games.

Now, all players await decision day for the final U19 team roster.

"You play with all these girls from all over the country, and you play them in club, and you know you're going to play them in college. It's really cool to play with them for the USA," Stanwick said. "It's just a great experience all around. To get to this point to be picked out of 300 girls is such an honor."

"You try to look at the best in everybody," Porcella said, "but you do have to make that decision, and it's going to be so hard. Everybody played so well. Not only did they play well, but they care so much. They want to be such good teammates. It's going to be very, very hard."

CHAMPION CHALLENGE, A US LACROSSE EVENT -- LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA.

U.S. U19 Training Team 12, Rollins 8

USA 6 – 6- 12
Rollins 2 – 6 – 8

Goals – USA: McPartland 3, Stanwick 2, McMunn 2, Fortunato 2, Rix 2, Acton 1; ROL: Showell 3, Tyszko 1, Wiedenhofer 1, Lamere 1, Giannerini 1, Townsend 1

Assists – USA: Stanwick 2, McPartland 1, McMunn 1, Treanor 1, Rix 1; ROL: Tyszko 2, Lamere 1

Saves - USA: Duryea 1, Murray 9: ROL: DeLisle 11

U.S. U19 Training Team 12, Jacksonville 10

USA – 8 – 4 – 12
Jacksonville – 4 – 6 – 10

Goals – USA: Rix 3, Stanwick 2, Smith 2, Acton 1, Cook 1, Jo Tracy 1, Trimble 1, Fortunato 1; JAX: Derner 2, Stewart 1, Watts 1, Cosgrove 1, Thompson 1, Krell 1, Michel 1, Jaworski 1, Erdeley 1

Assists – USA: Stanwick 2, Acton 1, Cook 1, Fortunato 1

Saves – USA: Duryea 3, Vallarelli 3; JAX: Tobin 5


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