Team USA attacker Kayla Treanor, named Player of the Match, was five-for-five in shots on goal against England.

Maryland, Syracuse Attackers Put on Show in Team USA's Win over England

Maryland versus Syracuse: In the sport of women’s lacrosse, that’s a rivalry that doesn’t go unnoticed.

Recently, the Terps and the Orange met in the NCAA final four during four straight seasons (2013-16), including once in the championship. While Maryland earned the edge in all four contests, combining the talent from both teams would become unparalleled with the rest of the tournament field.

From those squads, six Terps and four Orange moved on to the U.S. ranks, with many finding a spot on the country’s offense. No other school claims an attacker on Team USA.

“[The rivalry] is evident off the field... but on the field...they look around and see red, white and blue." - Ricky Fried

Rivals turning teammates is a common thread within the 2017 U.S. Women’s World Cup team as the coaching staff, led by Ricky Fried, handpicked the nation’s top talent from the NCAA’s best schools, including Maryland, North Carolina and Syracuse, whose players combined make up 74 percent of the roster.

Collectively, rivalries aside, the Americans understand what it means to be a member of Team USA. It’s about acting as one unit and playing for something bigger than themselves.

In Team USA’s dominant 18-1 win over England on Saturday, two former rivals put on an unforgettable show that they couldn’t do until now – Alex Aust (Maryland 2013) and Kayla Treanor (Syracuse 2016), both Tewaaraton finalists, Attackers of the Year and All-Americans during their college careers.

Aust was the leading scorer for the U.S. with six goals. Treanor, who was named the Player of the Match, tallied a team-high 12 points, which set a new U.S. single game record, surpassing Lindsey Munday’s mark of 11 points against Japan in 2009. Treanor’s seven assists also tied the U.S. single-game assists record, also held by Munday, against Ireland in 2009.

Overlapping just one year as opponents in 2013, as a senior and freshman respectively, Aust and Treanor knew each other’s threshold for talent then, but have only cracked the ceiling since. They have fed off each other, improving their game to “finally click” against the English, Aust said.

“When you are at this level of competition, it’s a level of respect that you have for people who are also at that level, and whether or not we’re rivals, we’ve always respected each other,” Aust said. “It’s been a dream come true for me to be able to play and elevate my game, having her push me to be the best attacker I can be.”

At halftime, Team USA led 8-0, with Aust scoring her first and the team’s eighth goal off Treanor’s assist, which later sparked a second period spectacle.

The game became the ultimate display of Maryland’s and Syracuse’s finest. Aust poured in five more goals, two of which were thanks to assists from Treanor. Then Treanor finished the night having a hand in Team USA’s final seven goals to pull away for the victory.

“[The rivalry] is evident off the field in how they rib each other a little bit, but on the field, I don’t even think they think about it,” Fried said. “They look around and see red, white and blue and that’s all they see.”

Also of note, 17 of Team USA’s 18 goals were scored by either a Maryland or Syracuse alumna. Brooke Griffin (Maryland 2015) tallied a hat trick, Michelle Tumolo (Syracuse 2013) added two goals and three-time Tewaaraton winner Taylor Cummings (Maryland 2016) recorded one. Midfielder Sarah Bullard (Duke 2011) scored the last U.S. goal just under the 10-minute mark in the first half.

“I forget that we didn’t play together,” Treanor said. “I love playing with them and being on the same team as them. It’s a lot more fun.”


Team USA midfielder Kelly Rabil celebrates with Kayla Treanor after scoring against England.

Overall, the win was a complete team effort, according to its players and coaches, with a clear focus on improving their shooting. Treanor’s record-breaking performance was a stark contrast from yesterday’s game against Australia, when she scored on just one of six shots on goal, while being five-for-five against England. She credits her coaches and her teammates for their nonstop encouragement.

“She’s a great player,” Fried said. “When you look at great players, everybody doesn’t have a great game every day. The difference between players that are really good and the greatest are the ones that respond in the biggest moments – and I think her response to how she shot yesterday was fantastic.”

Treanor wasn’t the only one to improve. While he recognizes it’s a cliché, Fried said the team as a whole continues to get better every day. A seven-goal win over the Aussies isn’t a setback to the public eye, but it was a much more defensive game compared to the offensive outpouring by the Americans against England.

“The biggest thing we take away from that game was it wasn’t a perfect game for us, but it was a perfect response from yesterday,” Fried said. “What they do is they play for each other, which is so awesome.”

While it was a home game for England, with fewer fans able to travel across the pond for the U.S., Team USA didn’t let the atmosphere rattle them. As Fried continues to say, “they relish that pressure,” playing on a big stage in a big moment.

“Every single time we get a chance to prove ourselves, our biggest thing is putting on a show out there,” Aust said. “The bigger the audience, with more people watching, it spreads our sport. It spreads what we want lacrosse to be, so it really got us pumped up and we were just really excited to show what we’re made of.”