Growing up with an August birthday meant that Kasey Choma didn’t get to celebrate many birthdays with her school classmates. The U.S. Women’s U19 lacrosse player had a different opportunity this past week.
On Tuesday night, she had plenty of reason to celebrate her birthday and plenty of people to celebrate the special occasion. Choma scored a hat trick to go along with an assist and a draw control to help the United States down Hong Kong 25-0 in the opening round of the playoffs at the 2019 World Lacrosse Women’s U19 World Championship.
The U.S. advances to Wednesday’s quarterfinal where it will play Wales, a 12-10 winner over the Czech Republic in another first round game.
“Honestly, at first I was a little bummed wasn’t going to be home,” Choma said, “but [my teammates] made it amazing. They bought me cake pops, they made me smoothies, they did everything to make me feel so special here knowing that I wasn’t home. It was awesome.”
After the game, Choma was serenaded by both the U.S. and Hong Kong teams, and then she got another round of singing after she was named the Player of the Match.
The U.S. offense displayed its firepower in the first-ever matchup between the two nations.
Maddie Jenner won the opening draw and fed Izzy Scane for a goal just 12 seconds into the contest and the U.S. never slowed up.
The U.S. won 23 of 28 draws in the game and all 12 in the second half. Jenner had a team-best 11 draw controls and Greta Stahl had four.
Leah Holmes, one of the youngest players on the U.S. team, led the offensive barrage with a team-high nine points (five goals, four assists). Her nine points was tied for the fourth most for a U.S. team player in U19 history and the highest-scoring single-game output since Josie Owen had 10 points in a win over England in 2007.
Holmes, a rising senior at the Hackley School in New York, is relishing the opportunity to play at this level.
“The camaraderie we’re building as a team – we’re learning each other’s strengths and how to mesh together,” Holmes said. “I think that’s really cool. To have the opportunity to make history and win another gold would be pretty special.”
Holmes had plenty of help with Scane, Belle Smith and Caitlyn Wurzburger all adding four scores and Stahl and Wurzburger dishing out three assists each.
The U.S. defense wasn’t tested often, but Rachel Hall and Madison Doucette combined to make three saves while posting the shutout.
The U.S. will face a familiar opponent in Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Wales is sharing the same hallway in the dorms at Trent University. The two teams have met four times previously in U19 competition with the U.S. winning all four matchups. Wednesday’s game will be streamed live by Lax Sports Network at 8 p.m.