Champions Crowned at USA Lacrosse Youth Nationals

PHOTO BY KEVIN P. TUCKER

Yellow Jackets Spallina celebrates after winning the 14U championship game at the USA Lacrosse Youth Nationals. A late save by Breanna Henke secured the win.


FREDERICA, Del. — A year ago at this time, the USA Lacrosse Youth Nationals were canceled due to the global pandemic. So, it was only fitting that one of the winning coaches said that her team’s success was attributable to being joyful to play the game.

This year’s event, run in partnership with STEPS Lacrosse and Top of the Bay Sports, featured 82 of the nation’s top girls’ club lacrosse teams competing in three age groups (13U, 14U and 15U) for two days of action at DE Turf. (Complete results).

The first championship game went to overtime with PRIDE 2026 Red (Va.) pulling out a 5-4 victory over Yellow Jackets Manning (N.Y.). PRIDE led by two goals in the second half, but the Yellow Jackets scored the final two goals of regulation to send the game to extra time. PRIDE stayed calm.

“We just focused on being joyful,” said PRIDE coach Katie McMahon. “We should be so joyful that we get to play the game that we love and that’s what we said. We always say you’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some. Either way be joyful and either way you’re going to be a winner.”

Brooke Ambrose sent her team home happy, scoring the game-winner off a free position opportunity in overtime. Pride goalies Brooke Buursink and Addie Moore combined to make seven saves in the game, including one by Moore in overtime.

“Everything starts from the back up,” McMahon said. “When our goalies make big saves, it gets everybody fired up and it gives everyone the confidence and encouragement to step up and play well.”

The 14U championship game also saw a tight finish with Yellow Jackets Spallina (N.Y.) hanging on for a 5-4 victory over STEPS Elite 2025 Blue (N.J.).

It was a back-and-forth game for a Yellow Jackets team accustomed to dealing with high-profile situations.

This Yellow Jackets team is coached by Stony Brook head women’s lacrosse coach and U.S. assistant coach Joe Spallina. His daughter, Alexa, plays on the team, but he was coaching his son’s team at another tournament this week. His wife, Mary Beth, took over the coaching duties.

“This team especially feels a lot of pressure being coached by Joe Spallina,” said Mary Beth Spallina. “It’s like a target on your back and they’re all shooting bullets at us.”

The Yellow Jackets handled the pressure, starting by getting past another team in their program — Yellow Jackets Janelli — in the semifinals. In the final, the Yellow Jackets found themselves trailing STEPS 3-2 late in the first half.

Aubrie Eisfeld stepped up and scored with just 23 seconds left in the half to tie the game 3-3 and then scored the first two goals of the second half to give the Yellow Jackets a 5-3 lead. STEPS didn’t go away. Sloane Ricciuti scored with 3:55 remaining to cut the lead to one.

STEPS had a final chance to tie the game, but Breanna Henke made a save on a free position shot with 36 seconds remaining to give the championship to the Yellow Jackets.







The 15U championship game lacked a dramatic finish, but dominant performances by Devin Livingston and Hannah Davis paved the way for Monster Elite Lacrosse (N.Y.) to defeat Team 180 (Colo.) 11-5.

Monster won the first five draws of the game, scored three goals in the first three minutes of the game and ultimately jumped out to a 5-0 lead.

“We don’t perennially start fast,” said Monster head coach Craig Chamberlain. “In the fall, we came back in every single game, so it was nice to play with the lead for once.”

Livingston did much of the damage on the draw and finished the game with a team-high five goals. Davis scored two of the first three goals for Monster and added two second-half assists.

“They’re certainly integral to the offense, but we run a motion offense so we expect all seven players to contribute and be involved,” Chamberlain said. “Today it was them.”

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