U.S. U19 Gets Ready for Navy With Blue-White Exhibition


Erin Bakes had a goal and an assist to help the Blue team edge the White team 11-9 in an intra-squad exhibition of the 2019 U.S. U19 training team on Saturday night.


SPARKS, Md. — After a couple of practice sessions to start the weekend, the 36 members on the 2019 U.S. U19 women's lacrosse training team finally got to play in a game-like setting.

They looked like they had been playing together for years during an intra-squad exhibition on Saturday night on Tierney Field at US Lacrosse headquarters.

The Blue team held off a second-half rally to post an 11-9 victory over the White team behind three goals and two assists from Madison Ahern and two goals each from Caitlyn Wurzburger and Jane Hansen.

A much bigger challenge awaits.

On Sunday, the U.S. team hosts Navy at 4 p.m. on Tierney Field (admission is free of charge). Navy has advanced to at least the NCAA quarterfinal round the last two seasons and boasts one of the nation's most dynamic players in Kelly Larkin.

"I think it's exciting," said U.S. team head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. "We have a lot of numbers and we have a lot of kids that can run up and down. It'll be fun to play a team that's been practicing together and is seasoned. We're really exciting to come test the waters and see how we do."

On Saturday, the U.S. team showcased athleticism, hustle and a relentless style of play.

Isabelle Smith scored just 58 seconds into the game off an assist from Ahern to give the Blue team a 1-0 lead, and they never trailed in the game, but nothing came easy.

Both teams had the identical numbers of shots (27), draw controls (12) and saves (7). Most of the other statistical categories were tight. The Blue team had a slight 21-17 edge in groundballs and the White team committed one more turnover (12-11) than Blue.

Three straight goals by to open the second quarter gave the Blue team a 7-3 lead, but fueled by Maddie Jenner on the draw, the White team chipped away. Jenner finished the game with a game-high four draw controls and her goal snapped the Blue team's three-goal run and ignited a 4-1 run for the White team that closed the gap to 8-7 with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter.

It was still a one-goal game with under five minutes to play, but back-to-back goals by Wurzburger and Hansen put the game out of reach for the Blue team.

"It was a lot of fun," Amonte Hiller said. "Everyone on this squad is so talented, it's really fun to work with them. My impression so far on the weekend has been the heart and hustle this group has. They play really hard. It was a lot of fun to see them go up against each other.

Saturday night was a good measuring stick for Amonte Hiller and her staff.

"I think the team is progressing," Amonte Hiller said. "They're starting to learn some of the things we're putting in. I think they're working well together. That's been our goal. We really want to be a team and that's been our main focus."

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