WPLL Debuts Saturday With Focus on Sport’s Evolution

PHOTO BY GREG WALL

Duke alum Kerrin Maurer is one of 33 players participating in the WPLL's inaugural exhibition Saturday at 2 p.m. in Sparks, Md.


The Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL), set to launch in the summer of 2018, debuts Saturday in its inaugural showcase at the US Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Md.

The exhibition weekend, which is free to the public, features a Legends Game, honoring 80 players and coaches who have paved the path for professional women’s lacrosse throughout history, and a Showcase Game (Lax Sports Network) that includes a selection of players from the WPLL’s inaugural five teams – Baltimore Brave, New England Command, New York Fight, Philadelphia Fire and Upstate Pride.

According to league founder and CEO Michele DeJuliis, as well as the participants, a bigger purpose surrounds this weekend. It serves as an opportunity to present the evolution of women’s lacrosse — connecting past, present and future generations — and grow the game as a unified front.

“This league gives past players something concrete to be proud of, current players something to embrace and participate in, and future players something to dream towards,” said New York midfielder Taylor Cummings, a three-time Tewaaraton winner at Maryland who won gold medals in the World Cup and World Games this summer with the U.S. national team.

Attacker Olivia Hompe (Upstate), a recent Princeton graduate and Tewaaraton finalist who also played in the World Cup for England, said this event was a “landmark opportunity” and “watershed moment” for the sport.

“To know how our game has come through this evolution to now where we’re bigger, stronger and faster, it will be eye-opening for both sides,” DeJuliis said. “We have an opportunity, but we have a responsibility to make that impact nationwide on that next generation.”

In addition to the Legends and Showcase games, the current players will take part in character development classroom sessions, which focus on professionalism skills and personal branding. The sessions align with the WPLL’s twofold mission to function as both a professional league for the sport and a development program for rising talent nationwide. The league was founded on the principle that it’s “for players, by players.”

While the teams are based in the U.S., Ohio State graduate and Canada native Cian Dabrowski (Baltimore) said her charge as a member of the Brave goes beyond the states. She wants to grow the game internationally as well.

“My responsibility is to contribute to spreading the game,” Dabrowski said. “The top players in the country are in this league, but I think it goes beyond that and helps grow the game outside of the U.S. Although there will be a lot of challenges, I think the WPLL provides a great platform, especially getting the sport more recognition on the Olympic level.”

“Being a part of the WPLL means being a part of the growth to this game,” added Danielle Etrasco (Philadelphia), a Boston University graduate and 2013 U.S. gold medalist. “We have the opportunity to show what it really means to represent and play for something bigger than ourselves. That alone is an invaluable lesson for the youth of lacrosse to learn from.”







On Saturday morning, US Lacrosse is hosting a TryLax clinic for girls ages 6-14 who want to try the sport for the first time. The participants will have the opportunity to meet with WPLL players prior to the Legends game for an autograph session, as well as interact with them in the stands as the Legends take the field.

While the WPLL draftees will watch their idols growing up play again — Cummings is most looking forward to seeing “G.O.A.T” Jen Adams, while Dabrowski is excited to see two-time U.S. World Cup gold medalist and Ohio State great Gina Oliver — the youth players will see the pros as role models.

“The league is unique because it affords you the opportunity to teach and grow the game to future generations,” said Kerrin Maurer, the Philadelphia attacker and Duke alum. “The WPLL is working to provide a futures program which will allow younger players to learn from those in the league. I greatly look forward to having the opportunity to teach and guide young players.”

The WPLL will unveil a new set of rules Saturday — a 75-second shot clock, a back-field violation, and free-position shots from the center hash only — while young players witness a now-tangible goal of playing professional women’s lacrosse.

Said Etrasco: “The growth of the game rests largely in our hands.” 

WPLL Exhibition Rosters

WPLL Team Navy
Coach:
Sonia LaMonica
GM: Jessy Morgan

#

Name

Team

Position

1 Dana Dobbie Baltimore A
2 Cian Dabrowski Baltimore A
3 Brooke Griffin Baltimore A
4 Kara Mupo New England A
5 Madison Cyr New York A
6 Maura Schwitter Baltimore D
7 Kelsey Sheridan Baltimore D
8 Morgan Stephens Baltimore D
9 Daniela Eppler New York D
10 Nadine Hadnagy Upstate D
11 Ellie DeGarmo Baltimore G
12 Kelsey Gregerson New York G
13 Beth Glaros Baltimore M
15 Anna Kim New England M
16 Gabby Capuzzi New England M
17 Taryn VanThof New England M
18 Zoe Stukenberg New York M

WPLL Team White
Coach:
Ricky Fried
GM: Danielle Gallagher

#

Name

Team

Position

21 Danielle Etrasco Philadelphia A
22 Kerrin Maurer Philadelphia A
23 Olivia Hompe Upstate A
24 Mollie Stevens Upstate A
25 Kate Weeks Upstate A
26 Courtney Waite Philadelphia D
27 Holly Reilly Philadelphia D
28 Colleen Magarity Philadelphia D
30 Jessica Volpe Upstate D
31 Emily Kift New York G
32 Molly Wolf Upstate G
33 Sarah Lloyd New England M
34 Taylor Cummings New York M
35 Ally Carey Upstate M
36 Lauren Murray Upstate M
37 Erin Slifer Upstate M

WPLL Legends Rosters

WPLL Game Changers
Coaches: Amy Appelt, Sue Heether, Cindy Timchal

#

Name

Position

5 Lauren Simone Farrell M
11 Claudia Ovchinnikoff M
12 Michele DeJuliis A
15 Sheehan Stanwick M
20 Michi Ellers D
21 Alex Ovchinnikoff M
24 Robyn Nye D
25 Rachael Dececco D
29 Cristi Samaras A
30 Betsy Dougherty A
33 Julie Williams D

WPLL Trailblazers
Coaches: Feffie Barnhill, Karin Brower-Corbett, Ricky Fried, Kathleen Geiger

#

Name

Position

3 Sonia LaMonica M
4 Gina Oliver D
7 Jen Adams A
10 Kristen Sommar M
13 Acacia Walker M
14 Erin Brown A
15 Dee Cross M
16 Danielle Gallagher A
18 Katie Chrest-Erbe M
22 Randall Swope A

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