OC Girls Impress at US Lacrosse National Tournament

The Orange County Girls Lacrosse National Tournament Team returned home from the US Lacrosse National Tournament with an impressive 3-1 record. Nearly 70 teams from across the country, playing in seven divisions, participated in the annual event at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.  Orange County, which featured 22 of the top high school players from the area, tied Maine for the best record in Pool A of the Cayuga Division.  The full roster is presented at the bottom of this article.

Orange County got started the tournament with an 11-7 win over Oregon before suffering their only loss of the weekend, a 10-6 defeat to Maine.  Head coach Kate Hick saw the loss to Maine as an eye opener for the team: ” We knew the struggle going into the tournament was to find some team chemistry. A lot of these girls are used to be the stars on their team and probably haven’t had a lot of opportunities to play within a team structure of attack or defense. The game against Maine showed us we had to start making the extra pass, talking more on defense and playing more like a team. Watching the team make these changes was probably the best part of the weekend. The following 2 games we really came together, and were able to dominate both games.”

The OC rebounded  from their only loss of the tournament with their best game of the tournament, taking down Ohio North Coast 11-8. Hick explained “We had just lost to Maine and I could feel the girls beginning to think, Well, OC doesn’t really usually win games at the National Tournament – so oh well. We spent the entire warm-up time just running through sets of motion for the attack. I could see things clicking in the girls’ minds, and when the game started we dominated. Erin DiBernardo was awesome on the draw and the attack was really opening lanes up for each other to drive to goal to either shoot or to make smart passes. I loved seeing the girls come together this game.”

A 15-4 victory over NorCal on Sunday completed tournament play.

While the wins and losses are important, the weekend offered plenty of off-field opportunities as well.  The team attended the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Lacrosse semi-final and national championship games and watched on as the United Women’s Lacrosse League debuted professional women’s lacrosse.  Coaches and players took advantage of the opportunity to get to know their rivals.  Hick was assisted by Beckman coach Kelly Baker and told MaxLaxOC “The two of us had to admit after the first game that we actually really enjoyed coaching together. (Rivals!) Kelly did a great job of handling the defense and I handled the attack. It was nice to have each of our parts and yet, be able to come together and agree on the larger team corrections. It was an absolute pleasure coaching with Kelly.”

Just as they did last year the team also found time to participate in a community outreach while in Pennsylvania.  This year they donated diapers, bath supplies and personal items to the Sixth Street Shelter for families in Allentown, PA.

The National Tournament Team participated in a community outreach event at the Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown, PA.

The tournament was won by the team from Long Island.  Hick offered the following observations regarding the state of OC girls when compared to traditional hotbeds like Long Island “I think in order to compete with the east coast schools we just need to add more speed to our game and more confidence. I watched some of the east coast games and was impressed by how quickly they moved the ball in the midfield and on offense. There was a ton of movement off ball and rarely were you seeing someone carrying the ball from one end to the other. I think we have that ability, but again, our girls need to get used to playing at that level. Unfortunately, because the talent is still rather spread in OC, girls get into the habit of relying on themselves, instead of working with 11 other teammates. However, like I said before, when given the opportunity our girls were doing that.”

“And lastly, confidence is coming, but West coast needs to stop seeing themselves as second class. I saw some great athletes, who will be very successful in college, and they were on our team not from New Jersey.”

Hick also had the following advice for young players interested in future National Tournaments: “For me, I think they need to talk to their coaches, because they are the ones nominating the players to the try-out. Have them either figure out with their coach if they are ready to try-out, or what they need to do to be ready (ex: stickwork, fitness, shooting, defensive talking etc.) Holly does a great job of communicating ahead of time so everyone should know when the next try-out should be. Lastly, try-out! This was such an awesome weekend. It’s great to be looked at, but more importantly, it’s such a great opportunity for these girls to play with their rivals at such a high level.”

2016 Orange County National Tournament Team Roster

No. First Name School Grade
1 Ellery Amdor Corona Del Mar 9
2 Cassie Barragan Great Oak 10
3 Jensen Coop Corona Del Mar 11
4 Erin DiBernardo Santa Margarita 11
5 Shay Hefft San Clemente 10
6 Katie Hendrix Newport Harbor 11
7 Tess Keiser Mater Dei 9
8 Lauren Kilger Foothill 10
9 Isabella Martinez Santa Margarita 11
10 Quninnlyn Mason Aliso Niguel 10
11 Kennedy Mulvaney Corona Del Mar 11
12 Ashley Olson Corona Del Mar 10
13 Allison Parkhill Foothill 11
14 Sydney Payne Mater Dei 10
15 Joslyn Simaan Corona Del Mar 9
16 Taylor Stern Beckman 10
17 Carly Tobias Beckman 9
18 Megan Vandenburg St. Margaret’s 9
19 Claire Welter San Juan Hills 10
20 Brooke Williams Beckman 9
21 Alex Yan Capo Valley 11
22 Cailin Young St. Margaret’s 10