U.S. Women's National Team Returns with Mix of Collegiate, Pro Talent at Tryouts

SPARKS, Md. — Minutes before the U.S. women’s national team took the field for tryouts on Wednesday afternoon, head coach Jenny Levy and assistant Joe Spallina grabbed their pickleball paddles.

Levy, an avid pickleball player in Chapel Hill, N.C., where she coaches the North Carolina women’s team, had heard there were cicadas in the area and planned accordingly.

With paddles in hand, Levy and Spallina went to work.

“Where are they?” Levy shouted as cicadas buzzed past the U.S. women’s national team staff.

Levy focused in on a flying cicada, and with one swing of the paddle, a small thud and a smile on her face, she had started a competition.

“One to nothing, Joe!” she joked, as Spallina wound up for his attempt.

“Did you hear that?” Spallina shouted as he smacked his first cicada.

For the members of the national team coaching staff, the cicadas provided a moment of levity before the intensity of the tryout process for the 2022 world championship process began.

The moment was a unique way to kick off one of the most anticipated U.S. women’s national team events in recent memory. Over 19 months had passed since Levy had met with her team in person, dating back to IWLCA President’s Cup in 2019.

The energy within the U.S. women’s national team tryout pool was palpable from the greetings in the lobby of the Embassy Suites to the turf at USA Lacrosse headquarters on a humid Wednesday.

In a thunder-delayed day session, some of the best women’s lacrosse players in the world put on a show.

“Today was awesome and I can’t wait for tomorrow,” Levy said as Wednesday's session wrapped. “There’s so much excitement around this week, with everyone coming back. It was so nice to see everyone’s smiling faces. A lot of energy, a lot of excitement, a lot of talent.”

The tryout pool of just over 60 players featured plenty of veterans, including nine players that took home gold in 2017. However, more than a few players made their senior national team debuts on Wednesday — including Tewaaraton Award finalists Charlotte North, Izzy Scane, Taylor Moreno and Jamie Ortega.

Levy said she was excited to witness the mixture of experienced, professional talent with that of college stars.

“We had a great college season with some tremendous players,” Levy said. “The energy that the collegiate kids are bringing in for the veterans is awesome, and it makes for a great couple days.”

A thunderstorm limited the tryout pool to one, extended training session that included multiple full-field and “Sixes” scrimmages. The schedule for Thursday includes multiple training sessions, a chance of rain, plenty of time for this team to continue growing and for players to make an impact.

The U.S. Women's National Team tryout will go live on Lax Sports Network on Thursday at 6 p.m. The livestream will be hosted by former national team players Sheehan Stanwick Burch and Kristen Kjellman Marshall. Burch and Marshall will interview coaches and players during the session and provide an up-close look at the tryouts from field level.

The livestream is part of a dedicated fundraising effort to help support the national team program and its dual role of competing at the highest level while providing inspiration to the next generation of players. A $50,000 matching gift has been donated by a USA Lacrosse Foundation board member, allowing all donations to be doubled. You can support the team at www.usalacrosse.com/behindthedream

The Victory Tour Continues

Charlotte North has had quite a lot of fun since winning the national championship with Boston College on May 30.

The Eagles star who tallied an NCAA Division I women’s record 102 goals en route to the national title flew back to Boston with the trophy in hand on June 1. The next day, she and her teammates met Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker for a championship celebration at the State House.

On June 3, U.S. women’s national team star Abby Wambach tweeted her support and excitement for North. Two days later, she and a number of her Boston College made the trip to Gillette Stadium, where they watched North take home the 2021 Women’s Tewaaraton Award at halftime of the PLL opener.

After throwing out the first pitch at Fenway Park and moving right to TD Garden for a Boston Bruins playoff game, North could turn her attention to her next challenge — a shot at the U.S. national team.

“It’s surreal. It hasn’t really sunk in,” North said of what she accomplished in 2021. “I’m just so grateful to be here. The college game is really fast but the best players in the world are even faster. I’m trying to hang with the superstars out there.”

North, who became one of the most popular lacrosse college players in recent memory, put on the red, white and blue for the first time on Wednesday. She stood alongside players whom she had idolized — especially Michelle Tumolo and Boston College assistant Kayla Treanor.

She also had the chance to play with fellow Eagles’ teammate Belle Smith, as well as assistant Sam Apuzzo and alums Kenzie Kent and Dempsey Arsenault. The contingent was both comforting for North and a testament to the program’s growth in the past five years.

"To get to finally play with all of them, it’s unbelievable," she said. "I’m really blown away. Seeing them on the biggest stage is even cooler than I could have imagined.”

Treanor Enjoying Tryout Process as Veteran

Kayla Treanor joined the U.S. women’s national team pool shortly after it took home gold in the 2013 world championship. Then a star at Syracuse, Treanor was eager to prove she could compete with the best players in the world.

Almost four years and a grueling tryout process later, Treanor made the final cut for the 2017 world championship team, which made a run to gold in England. She led the U.S. throughout the championship, setting a program record with 43 points en route to gold.

Treanor took the field for the national team for the first time since 2019, along with nine other members of that team. When she starred in 2017, Treanor was a 24-year-old attacker just two years removed from Syracuse.

Now, she makes up a core of talented veterans who will hope to lead the next generation of U.S. stars to another world championship.

“Some people come in and right away they’re in a World Cup and I’ve had four years before my first one, and now four years after,” she said. “I’ve been in this process for a long time, but there’s certainly a lot of joy in being back on the field and playing again.”

Among the U.S. hopeful this time around are Boston College stars Belle Smith and Charlotte North, two players that Treanor coached to the national title less than two weeks ago.

When Treanor began playing with the national team almost eight years ago, she took the field with her Syracuse coaches, including Tumolo. Just four years later, the roles are reversed, but Treanor is just as thrilled.

“I love playing with the kids I coach,” she said. “I loved playing with my Syracuse coaches when I started with the U.S., and now being able to play with Charlotte and Belle, it’s amazing. There’s a lot of unbelievable talent in the college game this year, and to see them play a great brand of lacrosse, it’s exciting. They are really competitive and fit in great and are pushing the pace.”

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