NXT Stuns Yellow Jackets Gold in US Lacrosse Nationals Quarterfinal


Quinn McKiernan scored one goal in Connecticut Elite's 11-10 win over Lax Maniax (Fla.) today in the 14U Division round of 16 at the US Lacrosse Nationals.

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. - Diminutive Margaret Carden reached oh-so-high with one hand to catch a pass from Katie Bergen, spun, and scored the game-winning goal 32 seconds into the second overtime to lift NXT (Pa.) to a 10-9 win over Yellow Jackets 2021 Gold (N.Y.) in a 14U Division quarterfinal stunner to highlight the second day of the US Lacrosse Nationals here today.

Carden's goal was her fifth of the game to help the Philadelphians rally from an 8-2 second-half deficit against a traditionally strong Long Island team. Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.) avoided the upset bug that befell their sister team, as did Top Guns 2021 (N.Y.) and Liberty (N.Y.) in advancing to tomorrow's 14U semifinals. The 13U and 12U divisions also advanced teams through brackets as players and fans fought off alternating wind, mist and rain at soggy River City Sportsplex.

"I envision it all the time but I never really catch it one-handed. But I thought about it and hoped for the best when the ball was in the air," Carden said. "This means the world to us, even just to be here at this US Lacrosse event."

Trailing 5-0 before falling behind by six midway through the second half, NXT finally got going thanks to draw victories by Abigail DeGroat. The Philadelphians scored the last six goals in regulation, including one by Bergen and two by Carden in the last 1:21, improbably to tie the game at 9 and force overtime. Three minutes yielded yielded unsuccessful opportunies by both teams. NXT backed up a high shot by Sally Autsen to set up the winner, here: 

"It's an honor to have a chance to play the Yellow Jackets, and to beat them in double overtime is a dream," Bergen said, acknowledging the program that had won the gold medal in five of eight previous US Lacrosse Nationals.

NXT will draw Liberty, another Long Island club and the winner of Pool B, having vanquished NXT in the first pool-play game yesterday. Liberty withstood an early challenge from Connecticut Elite, pulling away from a 6-6 first-half tie for a 16-9 win thanks in part to three goals by Megan Reilly. Connecticut Elite got to the quarterfinals via a thrilling, 11-10 win over Lax Maniax (Fla.) in the round of 16. Claire Shermo scored the winner with just over a minute left, while McKenna Harden had four goals and Quinn McKiernan (above) had one.

Top Guns 2021 got balanced scoring to defeat Ultimate Elite (Pa./N.J.), 10-5; ditto Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue in its 19-4 quarterfinal win over Wave Coast to Coast (Calif.). Those Long Island rivals will meet in the other 14U semifinal at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

13U Division

Ultimate Elite (Pa./N.J.) 10, 3d Select National 2022 (Colo.) 3
Top Guns 2022 (N.Y.) 10, Yellow Jackets 2022 Gold (N.Y.) 5
Connecticut Elite 12, Big 4 HHH (Pa.) 4
Yellow Jackets 2022 Blue (N.Y.) 14, Liberty (N.Y.) 4

Katherine Ernst, Ultimate Elite 13U (Pa./N.J.)

Katherine Ernst of Ultimate Elite (Pa./N.J.) 13U heads upfield during pool play yesterday. She'll have a chance to lead her team to a US Lacrosse Nationals medal in a semifinal tomorrow (Jordan Burgess photo).

Semifinals and Final
Ultimate Elite (Pa./N.J.) vs. Top Guns 2022 (N.Y.), 9 a.m.
Yellow Jackets 2022 Blue (N.Y.) vs. Connecticut Elite, 9 a.m.
Championship game, 11:30 a.m.
Third-place game, 11:30 a.m.

12U Division

Igloo (N.Y.) 9, Yellow Jackets 2023 Blue (N.Y.) 4
NXT 2023 (Pa.) 10, Top Guns 2023 (N.Y.) 7

Kylee Colbert, Igloo (N.Y.) 12U

Kylee Colbert scored two goals to help Igloo (N.Y.) defeat Yellow Jackets 2023 Blue (N.Y.), 9-4, in a US Lacrosse Nationals 12U semifinal today (Jordan Burgess photo).

Igloo (N.Y.) vs. NXT 2023 (Pa.), 10 a.m.

Third-Place Game
Yellow Jackets 2023 Blue (N.Y.) vs. Top Guns 2023 (N.Y.), 10 a.m.

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