5 Takeaways from the U.S. Women's 15-8 Win Over Athletes Unlimited


The U.S. women’s national team concluded a three-day training camp on Wednesday with a 15-8 win over Athlete’s Unlimited at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on the campus of Stony Brook University.

The 2,250 fans got what they came to see. Former Stony Brook stars Ally Kennedy and Kylie Ohlmiller scored for old time’s sake, and Charlotte North was, well, Charlotte North. The two-time Tewaaraton Award winner finished with four points on three goals and an assist.

But it wasn’t all fun and games. For the U.S., it gave players and coaches a chance to learn what was working and what wasn’t ahead of the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship slated to begin on June 29.

We learned a few things, too.

The draw unit is in midseason form.

Head coach Jenny Levy likened the first day of training camp to the early moment of a prom. Everyone was still getting warmed up and getting to know one another. At times, you still caught glimpses of that lack of familiarity with one another in other places on the field on Wednesday — but not the draw. The U.S. dominated in the circle, winning 19 of 26 draws. Taylor Cummings led the way with eight. It was almost a given that the U.S. would win the draw when she took it.

Ally Mastroianni, a 2022 Tewaaraton Award finalist and NCAA champion, also took draws. Though she didn’t coral any herself, her 5-foot-9 frame gives the U.S. length in the circle.

Lizzie Colson also figures to be a factor in the circle. The former Maryland defender finished with four draws.

The rest of the world needs goalies who can stand on their heads.

There were times when the heralded offense, which includes attackers Kayla Treanor, Sam Apuzzo, North, Ohlmiller and Molly Hendrick, looked slightly out of sync. Part of that is because the team hasn’t scrimmaged against other competition since last fall. But it’s also because of Taylor Moreno. The recent North Carolina graduate made five stops in 30 minutes and especially shined in the second quarter, when she only gave up one goal.

As this offense continues to gel, opponents will need a goalie to piece together a 60-minute, Moreno-like performance to stop it.

Charlotte North will not play like a rookie.

If you expected North to take a backseat to the veteran stars she once looked up to, you thought wrong. She led the game in points and goals and looked like the player fans grew accustomed to seeing play at Boston College. North, who was the top pick in the Athlete’s Unlimited college draft, dodged through traffic, ripped shots and celebrated the players around her, much to the delight of the Long Island crowd — and her more seasoned teammates.

“Our veterans have done a great job of telling whoever comes into training camp, ‘Hey, you’re here for a reason. Show up and do your thing,’” Levy said. “That is a tribute to our veterans and how great they are in terms of creating a culture that is very welcoming and wanting the best to perform at the highest level.”

The primary goalie is still unclear.

With Devon Wills, the 2017 netminder, not playing this year, the goalie position is one of few question marks for Team USA. Liz Hogan and Caylee Waters each made three saves and allowed four goals. Hogan started, and Waters anchored. Levy was impressed with both.

“They’re both great outside the cage,” Levy said. “They’re both amazing ball stoppers. I have a lot of confidence in both of them if someone is taking a point-blank shot that they will make the save.”

Could the U.S. employ a two-goalie system, like the one Levy used with Waters and Megan Ward during the Tar Heels’ title-winning 2016 season? It’s possible.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Levy said. “I think having one predominant one is something we could do, but using two in a dual system isn’t unusual for me.”

The fans are ready, too.

It’s one thing to say the game is growing. It’s another thing to see it in person. More than 2,000 fans came out to watch some of the best players on the planet scrimmage on a school night. And they stayed long after the final buzzer sounded. The “Char-lotte, Char-lotte” chants for the Team USA star could be heard from the LaValle Stadium parking lot.

“Look at all these kids here tonight,” Levy said, motioning to the LaValle Stadium crowd. “This wasn’t something that was here five years ago.”

After sold-out crowds at Homewood Field for the Final Four — and a record-breaking audience watching on ESPN — it’s clear there’s an increasing appetite for the sport. And it’s why this year’s team is playing for more than a medal.  


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