Impressive U.S. Roster a Joy for Fans to Watch

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI


TOWSON, Md. — Taylor Cummings and Charlotte North went to work. Set up on the left wing, Cummings drew two Canada defenders in close, giving North the centimeter of space needed to turn on the jets and blow right past them.

She scored on a low laser as she fell to the turf, putting the U.S. women’s national team up 3-2 in an eventual 16-11 win in the opening game of the 2022 World Lacrosse Women’s Championship.

Cummings, arguably the best player in the world, and North, possibly the heir apparent, working a two-woman game on the wing? It’s a dream come true for lacrosse fans. Twitter was ablaze Wednesday night talking about both the individual displays — like Sam Apuzzo’s BTB on the doorstep that earned the No. 8 spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 — and the fantasy-like combinations on the field.

“I get like so irrationally emotional watching this [U.S. women’s national team] play,” Katie DeFeo tweeted. “It’s a collection of my childhood heroes and the dopest girls that are my age. It’s just such a loaded roster.”

James C. Foote, the Flagler men’s lacrosse assistant, replied to DeFeo and took it a step further.

“I don’t know if this could be the best USA [team] ever or if the names are just so damn household that it seems that way, but this is a phenomenal collection of talent,” Foote said.

Indeed, Jenny Levy’s roster is impressive. That’s probably an understatement. It effectively bridges the gap between superstars many players emulated while they were growing up — like Cummings, Kayla Treanor and Meg Douty, just to name a few — and the stars continuing to elevate the sport today — like North, Ally Mastroianni, Emma Trenchard and others.

Roster building is, of course, an intentional exercise. Every possible combination is tested over months of training camp and hours upon hours of dissecting film. Sticking with veterans would theoretically help with team chemistry. Players who’ve been in the U.S. system for awhile will inevitably have had more time together, after all.







But Levy likened adding some fresh new faces to bringing in freshmen to a college program. Even if North is a two-time Tewaaraton Award winner and an NCAA record holder, she brings a new type of energy to the field.

“I think the mix of experienced players and then some of the newer players who are experiencing this for the first time, it’s kind of like having freshmen,” Levy said. “They’re so excitable. Everything’s so new. Then you have your veterans. We have a really fun combination between the two that provides a fun energy.”

There’s the potential for any number of cliques to be formed based off the roster demographics. You have a strong North Carolina contingent, a deep Maryland core and the Stony Brook bonds that were forged years ago on Long Island. They’re evident on paper. Not as much in person.

North (Boston College) and Marie McCool (UNC) partnered up after defeating Canada to do their cool down stretches together. So did Kylie Ohlmiller (Stony Brook) and Emily Parros (UNC). The players are just as excited about these dream pairings and friendships as their fans are.

“It’s been incredible. I was fortunate enough to be on the 2017 team, and I was that [new] player,” McCool said. “I was in college, and I was able to learn from the veterans, the leaders on that team. Now being considered a veteran, I’m just trying to do the same. It’s something I take a lot of pride in.”

In a December story about Ally Mastroianni, USA Lacrosse Magazine’s Matt Hamilton wrote about the All-American midfielder’s reaction to stepping up to the draw circle and facing Cummings, one of her idols.

“‘Oh wow. I’m about to take the draw against someone who I grew up watching on YouTube,’” she said aloud.

Cummings returned the praise. That connection, that shared joy of women’s lacrosse that transcends graduation years, is what’s helped make this U.S. team one of the most anticipated in history.

“It’s just a dream come true to be able to line up next to all the people I’m fortunate enough to be here with,” North said.

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