Yellow Jackets, Igloo Win US Lacrosse Nationals


Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.) celebrates the club's sixth gold medal in the upper age division in the nine-year history of the US Lacrosse Nationals, won Sunday via a 12-4 defeat of Liberty (N.Y.).

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. - New York club programs once again swept the US Lacrosse Nationals, as Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.) and 2022 Blue won the national titles in the 14U and 13U divisions, while Igloo (N.Y.) claimed the gold medal in the 12U Division at sun-splashed River City Sportsplex here today.

A recap, by division:

14U Division: Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.) Jumps Liberty (N.Y.) Early to Win Sixth National Championship, 12-4

Mackenzie Hoeg scored two of her four goals in the first eight minutes as Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.) jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back in a 12-4 win over Long Island rival Liberty (N.Y.) in the 14U Division gold medal game at the ninth annual US Lacrosse Nationals. The win marked the sixth for coach Carol Rainson Rose’s club in nine years, once again earning the Yellow Jackets bragging rights among the 300,000-plus youth members of US Lacrosse.

“It never gets old,” Rose said. “This year’s group I’ll remember for their unselfishness. They always look to pass before scoring.”

That was evident early and often, as Madigan Miller fed Hoeg less than 90 seconds in for a 1-0 lead — one of five assists on the day for the Yellow Jackets. Hoeg converted a pass from Jordyn Case at 17:05 for a three-goal lead, and the Yellow Jackets’ signature pressure defense — Rose called it “relentless hustle” — kept Liberty at bay.

Grace Gately, on whom Rose wanted the Jackets to focus defensively, finally got Liberty on the board at 13:27. She fed Nikki Fanelli with 3:50 left in the first half to bring Liberty within 5-2, but Hoeg and Alayna Costa (3g, 1a) took over to end the stanza and begin the second. The Yellow Jackets scored six straight goals in the second half to clinch the national championship, Hoeg’s second in as many years.

“It was so special to come down with this group of amazing girls and win,” Hoeg, who has verbally pledged to play collegiately at Virginia, said. “You’re playing with girls that have the exact same passion as you.”

Case in point. With about 8 minutes ahead and the championship virtually in hand, 10-3, Yellow Jackets goalie Katie Vahle made one of her four saves, but the ball ricocheted toward the sideline. Vahle dove and swiped the ball with her stick to keep it in bounds. The Jackets cleared the ball and scored when Erin Schaefer fed Julia Carrera.

“That was sick. We were all so proud of her,” Hoeg said.

Hoeg has more reason to be proud, having joined older sister Katie Hoeg, a rising sophomore at North Carolina, as a US Lacrosse Magazine All-Tournament Team honoree at this event.

Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.) Scoring: Mackenzie Hoeg 4g; Alayna Costa 3g, 1a; Summer Agostino 2g; Jordyn Case 2a; Julia Carrera 1g; Maureen Duffy 1g; Brooke Hoss 1g; Erin Schaefer 1a; Maddigan Miller 1a.
Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.) Goalies: Emily Lamparter 1 save; Katie Vahle 4 saves.

Liberty (N.Y.) Scoring: Grace Gately 1g, 1a; Nikki Fanelli 1g; EllaGrace Delmond 1g; Clair Lapina 1g.
Liberty (N.Y.) Goalie: Gabrielle Kiewe 4 saves.

Bronze Medal Game: Top Guns 2021 (N.Y.) 14, NXT 2021 (Pa.) 3.

US Lacrosse Magazine All-Tournament Team
A: Grace Gately, Liberty (N.Y.)
A: Alayna Costa, Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.)
A: Margaret Carden, NXT 2021 (Pa.)
M: Alexandra Hopkins, Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.)
M: Nikki Fanelli, Liberty (N.Y.)
M: Brooke Hoss, Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.)
M: Kristen Shanahan, Top Guns 2021 (N.Y.)
M: Mackenzie Hoeg, Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.)
D: Lexi Waters, Top Guns 2021 (N.Y.)
D: Celeste Forte, Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.)
D: Kerry Walser, Top Guns 2021 (N.Y.)
G: Katie Vahle, Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.)

Wave Coast to Coast (Calif.) won the event’s Sportsmanship Award.

13U Division: Yellow Jackets 2022 Blue (N.Y.) Takes Advantage of Key Opportunities to Defeat Ultimate Elite (Pa./N.J.) for Championship

Casey Campo, Yellow Jackets 2022 Blue (N.Y.)

Casey Campo fires a shot for Yellow Jackets 2022 Blue (N.Y.) during its 13-5 win over Ultimate Elite (Pa./N.J.) in the US Lacrosse Nationals 13U Division gold medal game (Jordan Burgess photo).

Yellow Jackets 2022 Blue (N.Y.) got a balanced scoring effort and capitalized on Ultimate Elite (Pa./N.J.) errors to win the gold medal game of the US Lacrosse Nationals 13U Division, 13-5. The Jackets won their second consecutive national championship in the middle age group of this event.

Trailing 4-2 late in the first half, Ultimate appeared to pull within one with 3:25 to play, but Gianna Monaco’s stick was ruled illegal to wipe out the goal. Soon after, a yellow card on Maggie Golder gave the Yellow Jackets an extra-player opportunity, on which they cashed when Marina Bergin handed out the first of three assists on the day, this one to Ella Cabrera with 1:34 to play.

Early in the second half, Ultimate Elite lost another goal due to an offsides penalty, and the Jackets converted on the other end when Nicole Mannella punched in her third of the day with 21:50 to play.

“We played with great focus and discipline, and we made fewer turnovers. That was probably the difference in the game, because Ultimate has some very talented players,” Yellow Jackets Blue coach Alexis Curcio said. “We had a great time together, and we were able to play nice and loose because we have a lot of fun together.”

Ultimate Elite took advantage where it could, getting free-position goals by Taylor Brennan and Isabella Koch to pull within 7-4 at 16:33. Koch led Ultimate with three goals, but it would not be enough. Bergin found Casey Campo for the answer at 15:10, then scored herself after teammates Nina DeNicola and Nicole Phillips forced Audrey Cashin into a turnover on a ride.

“We talk to the girls a lot about trying to make her teammate better, and I think when they step out on the field, they genuinely have their teammates’ interests at heart,” Curcio said.

Yellow Jackets 2022 Blue Scoring: Nicole Mannella 3g; Casey Camp 2g, 1a; Nicole Phillips 2g, 1a; Marina Bergin 1g, 3a; Ella Cabrera 2g; Samantha Jones 1g, 1a; Ayden Fleming 1g, Ava Biancardi 1g.
Yellow Jackets 2022 Blue Goalies: Kaitlyn Mongiello 1 save, Erin Tiedemann 0 saves.

Ultimate Elite (Pa./N.J.) Scoring: Isabella Koch 3g, Taylor Brennan 1g, Elle Udo 1g, Maggie Golder 1a.
Ultimate Elite (Pa./N.J.) Goalies: Lara Hensler 2 saves, Gigi Peloso 2 saves.

Bronze Medal Game: Top Guns 2022 (N.Y.) 9, Connecticut Elite 5

12U Division: Igloo (N.Y.) Rallies from Early Hole, Tops NXT 2023 (Pa.) for Gold

Kylee Colbert, Igloo (N.Y.)

Kylee Colbert continued a hot tournament for Igloo (N.Y.), scoring three goals in her team's 7-3 win over NXT 2023 (Pa.) for the gold medal in the US Lacrosse Nationals 12U Division (Jordan Burgess photo).

Kylee Colbert scored all three of her goals in the second half as Igloo (N.Y.) stormed back from an early 3-0 deficit to defeat NXT 2023 (Pa.), 7-3, in the championship game of the US Lacrosse Nationals 12U Division. The win gave Igloo its first gold medal in the two-year history of the youngest age division at this event.

“We had some silly turnovers in the first half, and their goalie (Samantha Cifra) was outstanding,” Igloo coach Tim Colbert said. “We talked to our offensive players about changing angles and finishing better, and we pressed out defensively, which changed things.”

Gabrielle Koury scored once and assisted on another goal to stake the Philadelphians to a 3-0 lead midway through the first half, and advantage buoyed by Cifra, who finished the game with six saves. Paris Panagopoulos finally broke the ice for Igloo at 9:53, and Colbert fed Reilly Weiss for a momentum changer with 1:21 left in the half to bring Igloo within 3-2.

Colbert got hot in the second half, including the tying and go-ahead goals, and Weiss finished with two goals and one assist for the victors.

“It’s just the second year for this team. It was our goal to come down and win this tournament,” Colbert said.

With the win, Igloo earns an automatic bid in the 13U Division to the 2018 US Lacrosse Nationals, set for Aug. 2-5 in Frederica, Del.

Igloo (N.Y.) Scoring: Kylee Colbert 3g, 1a; Reilly Weiss 2g, 1a; Paris Panagopoulos 1g, Alena Godas 1g, Kasi Samuda 1a, Emilia Berkowitz 1a.
Igloo (N.Y.) Goalies: Rose Quin Horstmann 3 saves, Ava Giugliano 2 saves.

NXT 2023 (Pa.) Scoring: Gabrielle Koury 1g, 1a; Kiersten Pumilia 1g, Julia Cannon 1g, Gabby Ridder 1a.
NXT 2023 (Pa.) Goalie: Samantha Cifra 6 saves.

Bronze Medal Game: Top Guns 2023 (N.Y.) 7, Yellow Jackets 2023 Blue (N.Y.) 6.

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