Women’s Pro Lax League Debuts To Global Audience
streamed on LaxAllStars, even garnered over 18,000 realtime viewers from around the globe.he Women’s Pro Lax League’s inaugural season kicked of with two exciting games last Saturday. One game,
— Jen Adams (@JenAdams_7) June 2, 2018
Opening weekend was an absolute blast! Here’s a detailed look at what happened:
Women’s Pro Lax Game Recaps
New England Command Bests New York Fight with 13-10 Victory in Olney, MD
KARA MUPO AND NEW ENGLAND COMMAND EARN THEIR FIRST WIN
n Olney, MD the New England Command and the New York Fight took the field in the WPLL’s first game. It was clear that both teams were excited to take the field as pros, reuniting with former teammates and facing off against former teammates.
After New York won the initial draw, Fight attacker Taylor Quinn (Columbia, 2017) scored the first goal in Women’s Pro Lax history on Command keeper Bridget Bianco. New York’s Ivy League talent struck again moments later, when Fight attacker Marisa Romeo (Harvard, 2017) found the back of the net.
Though the Fight came out strong at first, New England quickly got on the board, and the first quarter ended in a 3-3 tie with NY goals from Caroline Wannen (Maryland 2017) and NE goals from Kara Mupo (Northwestern, 2015) Aly Messinger (UNC, 2016) and Tanner Guarino (UMass, 2014).
Despite some stellar defense from the Command unit of Amber McKenzie, Meg Douty, and Katie Hertsch, the second quarter belonged almost exclusively to the NY Fight, who scored 5 goals compared to NE’s 0. Taylor Cummings (Maryland, 2016) and Zoë Stukenberg’s (Maryland, 2016) dominant performance collecting draws helped kickstart the Fight’s success.
Nicole Graziano (Florida, 2016) started off the NY offense firing a rocket of a shot to the back of the net after a beautiful feed from Cummings. Then the rest of the quarter belonged to Romeo, who tallied two more goals, and Zoë Stukenberg (Maryland, 2017) who also scored two more goals in the quarter.
After halftime the Command came to the field ready to play. Though they still struggled in the draw circle, the Command, and more specifically Kara Mupo, were able to take control of the game. Midfielder Guarino fired up the Command’s positive momentum, collecting the third quarter’s first draw, then setting up attacker Kara Mupo for her second goal of the day.
Shortly after, Steph Lazo (Penn State, 2017) fired a rocket at keeper Emily Kift. The shot, which initially looked like a save, bounced off the back of Kift’s helmet, and was deemed a NE goal. NY won the next draw, but Command defender Amber McKenzie continued the Command’s positive momentum, picking off a Fight pass and finding a streaking Anna Kim (Stanford, 2015) open at the center of the field. Kim continued all the way to net, tallying her first goal of her Women’s Pro Lax career. With the score now 8-6 NY, Taylor Cummings extinguished the Command’s comeback with a FP goal with 5 minutes left in the half. Messinger scored a FP goal of her own two minutes later, then Romeo scored her fourth and final goal to close out the third quarter.
Much like the Fight’s second quarter, the Command scored all of the goals in the fourth quarter. Guarino collected the first draw, taking it straight to cage and tallying her second of the day, making the score 10-8 New York. Then Mupo took over.
Silenced since the first quarter, Mupo exploded for the next 4 goals of the game–including a 2 point shot. Despite the efforts of NY defenders Meg Markham, Shanna Brady, and Caroline Fitzgerald, Mupo could not be stopped, and the Command took their first lead of the game with 9:40 to remain in the game.
Baltimore Brave Outlasts Philly Fire, 20-12
BALANCED BRAVE ATTACK AND SOLID DEFENSIVE PRESSURE LEAD BALTIMORE TO IT’S FIRST EVER VICTORY
n their first home game of the season, Baltimore Brave players Brooke Griffin (3g, 1a), Jenna Collins (3g, 1a), Amanda Johansen (3g), Karri Ellen Johnson (3g), Laura Zimmerman (2g, 3a), Dana Dobbie 2, and Alyssa Leonard (1g, 1a) proved their offensive prowess, overcoming the visiting Philadelphia Fire 20-12 in the pairs first ever match up.
A strong Philly defense, led by Holly Reilly (Princeton 2009), Courtney Waite (UNC 2015) and arguably the highest drafted keepers in the WPLL Caylee Waters (UNC 2017) and Gussie Johns (USC 2018) could not contain the Brave, who placed 33 of their 39 shots on net.
The Fire came out on top of the first quarter, starting off scoring with a Lauren Kahn (UConn 2014) bounce shot two minutes in to the game. Less than thirty second later Jenna Collins, a 2018 Navy graduate that was playing professionally on her college home field, tallied the Brave’s first goal, followed by a goal from Brave teammate Brooke Griffin (Maryland 2015).
The Fire fired back, with attacker Casey Bocklet (UVA 2015) scoring her first goal at the 5:49 mark, and midfielder Emily Gillingham (Towson, 2018) finding the back of the net at the 5:09 mark. Collins responded with a beautiful unassisted goal, and the fourth quarter ended with Duke 2018 graduate Maddie Crutchfield burying a shot for the Fire. The Fire came out on top of the first quarter 4-3, but the game was far from over.
Brave midfielder Amanda Johansen kicked off scoring in the second quarter, launching a highlight-reel caliber shot past the Philly keeper and tying the score at 4-4 at the 13:01 mark. Fire midfielder and draw specialist Abbie Burgess then scored off of a feed from teammate Maddie Crutchfield, giving the Fire their last lead of the game at 5-4.
From then on, the game seemed to belong to the Brave, who would go on to score the game’s next 9 goals. This streak is due greatly to incredible goalkeeping and leadership from Baltimore’s Kelsea Donnelly (Towson 2017), who turned away 15 shots. A strong Baltimore defense led by Taylor Thornton (Northwestern 13) and Kelsey Sheridan (UMass 14) stifled several Fire scoring opportunities, with Thornton coming up with 5 ground balls on the day.
The Brave defense was especially effective when it came to limiting Fire attacker Danielle Etrasco’s scoring opportunities, as the Team USA veteran was held scoreless on the day.
The Fire saw the start of a comeback in the fourth quarter, but at that point it was too late to overcome the 18-7 lead that the Brave established. Though the Fire went on to score five goals in the fourth quarter, a win was not in the cards for them. Baltimore was no doubt inspired by the home-team fans that turned out to cheer them on in their first game.
The confidence and never-say-die mentality that Philly played with during the final quarter shows that this team has the drive and the talent to put together an exciting season. Statistically Philly won the first and fourth quarters, but could not match the offensive output of the Brave during the second and third quarters.
Upcoming Women’s Pro Lax Games
Saturday, June 9
UPSTATE VS PHILADELPHIA – 12:00PM ET – LIVE STREAM
HOST: THE ROUND UP LACROSSE TOURNAMENT
LOCATION: Farrell Stadium, West Chester University (West Chester, PA)
BALTIMORE VS NEW ENGLAND – 12:30PM ET
HOST: SUMMER GENESIS LACROSSE TOURNAMENT
LOCATION: Arnold Field, Lebanon Valley College (Annville, PA)
Spread the word about women’s pro lax!