January 9, 2016
Kara Mupo notched a first-half goal for the U.S. in what became a 19-8 win over Florida on Saturday night. (Scott McCall)
Kara Mupo notched a first-half goal for the U.S. in what became a 19-8 win over Florida on Saturday night. (Scott McCall)

Team USA Plays Two in One in Win Over Florida

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

* Box Score

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The U.S. women's national team played two games in one on Saturday.

What was originally designed as a late afternoon/early evening back-to-back doubleheader for a split-squad Team USA against national college powers Florida and Syracuse was condensed to just one nighttime tilt against the Gators. A 5 hour, 30 minute weather delay postponed the second game until Sunday at Team USA Spring Premiere at the IMG Academy.

And so Saturday night the U.S. used one 18-player team for the first half and threw in a fresh group that would have played Syracuse in for the second. A 5-5 halftime tie with Nike/Lacrosse Magazine preseason No. 10 Florida in the 60-minute, international rules scrimmage turned into a 19-8 win for the U.S.

Michelle Tumolo, Katie Schwarzmann, Mollie Stevens and Marie McCool combined to score four straight goals during a key sequence midway through the second half to give the U.S. a 11-7 lead with less than 13 minutes left. It was tied at 7 with 21:44 left on Florida freshman Lindsey Ronbeck's third goal, but the U.S. outscored the Gators 12-1 to finish.

Tumolo, who had a goal and four assists, dished to Alyssa Leonard (four goals) to make it a five-goal run. Tumolo also connected with Leonard for the first goal of the final 30 minutes and again with 8:57 to go to extend the run to seven straight scores. Attacker Sammi Burgess finally ended the run with a goal for Florida with 8:26 remaining.

Kayla Treanor added two goals for the U.S.

In the first half, Kelly Rabil scored twice for the U.S. and Ronbeck notched two for the Gators. The U.S. went ahead 4-2 with 9:38 left when midfielder Maggie Bill sprinted across midfield deep into the defensive zone and fed attacker Kara Mupo on the crease. Two straight goals from Florida's Alex Puller and Shayna Pirreca tied it up two minutes later.

The pair of Saturday games, originally scheduled for 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., were delayed because of weather – several lightning strikes hit the Bradenton area – and were originally pushed back to 6 and 8 p.m. But rain and lightning continued, eventually postponing the second game between the U.S. and Syracuse until Sunday at 8:30 a.m.

Twenty-four players from the current 36-member U.S. women's team will be chosen to play in a European tour the summer. That group will play England, Scotland and Wales at Surrey Sports Park, the site of the 2017 World Cup.

No Beast vs. Beast Matchup

The anticipated faceoff matchup between Team USA's Greg Gurenlian and one his protégés, Denver sophomore Trevor Baptiste, won't materialize on Sunday.

Baptiste and starters Zach Miller and Tyler Pace, and freshman attackman Colton McCaffrey, who is expected to see playing time this year, are among 11 that didn't make the trip with Denver to Florida because of illness, academic and injury reasons, coach Bill Tierney said Saturday.

"All will be ready to go," for Denver's scrimmage against Johns Hopkins on Jan. 30, Tierney said.

"We'd feel a lot better if they were here," he said, "but as we talked to the team about, don't make any excuses."

Seniors Chris Hampton and Joe Bano, who were the Pioneers' top two faceoff men in 2014 before Baptiste arrived, will take faceoffs instead on Sunday, along with freshman Ryan Harnisch. Hampton won 52 percent and Bano 46 percent in 2014. They took a combined 20 faceoffs last season.

U.S U19 Men Continuing to Build Chemistry

The 30-man U.S. under-19 men's national roster on Saturday went through its first full-length practice since a November exhibition against The Hill Academy (Ontario) at Ohio State. Coach Nick Myers said he could feel players acclimating to each other.

"It's an opportunity to grow," Myers said. "This is second time we've had this group of 30 together. There's a bit more comradery. Those things are really important. The staff could feel the voices, the guys communicating differently than they were. Those are all big positives."

Myers and staff have scripted different lineups for each quarter of Sunday's scrimmage against the Canadian U19 team. If someone starts on attack in the first quarter for example, he may not play again until the fourth quarter, but may play man-up in between. A defensive midfielder may play offense the next quarter.

"We'll post it so the guys know," Myers said. "We're still in a situation where we're evaluating. It's important for us to get these last evaluations on guys."

Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) rules allow only a 23-player roster for the world championship this July in British Columbia.

Team USA Clinics

Earlier in the day, both the U.S. men's and women's national teams hosted clinics for local youth lacrosse players at IMG Academy. Men's head coach John Danowski (Duke), assistants Joe Amplo (Marquette), Seth Tierney (Hofstra) and Tony Resch (2010 U.S. assistant and 2015 U.S. indoor coach), the team's 23 players and other staff members directed kids through a variety of drills. And they had fun, too, at one point breaking into groups to create team goal celebrations that were then judged by Resch and assistant general manager Ben DeLuca (Harvard assistant).

Busy Brownie

Denver and Canadian U19 assistant Matt Brown had a busy Saturday, working practice with the Canadians early in the morning then heading to an adjacent space at the sprawling IMG campus for the Pioneers afternoon practice that ended around noon. Both teams were scheduled to do some half-field, clearing, man up and man down work together in a joint session later in the day, but the thunderstorms arriving from the Gulf of Mexico in the late afternoon dashed those plans.

The U.S. women's national team plays Syracuse at 8:30 a.m. ET, the U.S. men's national team faces Denver at 11 a.m. and the U.S. under-19 men's national team plays the Canadian U19 team at 1:30 p.m. at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Single-day tickets are available for $8 and both games will be live streamed at USLacrosse.org/SpringPremiere.

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