This story appears in the May/June edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum. To purchase tickets to the World Lacrosse Women's World Championship in Towson, Md., head here.
More than 70 players competed in a series of 10 training camps, tryouts and events over the last four years. Eighteen will represent the U.S. in the biggest women’s world championship ever.
Meet the 18 women looking to secure a gold medal on home soil.
No one appreciates the position she has earned more than Hogan, the 32-year-old goalie out of Syracuse who was cut in the last phase of tryouts in 2013 and 2017. When Devon Wills retired, Hogan, who first tried out for the team in 2008, emerged as the veteran candidate to succeed her in goal. “She’s playing the best lacrosse of her career,” U.S. team coach Jenny Levy said.
The daughter of two college divers, Waters, a two-time national goalie of the year at North Carolina, inherited their fearlessness. She was the top goalie and No. 2 overall on the Athletes Unlimited leaderboard in 2021. The more shots she sees, the better she gets. When either goalie gets hot, she is near impossible to score on. Levy likes Waters positivity too. “I don’t want any Eeyores,” she said.
A school counselor, Mercer’s EQ makes her a natural leader. She reads the room. “It helps me understand when someone needs a kick in the butt or when someone needs a hug,” Mercer said. At 5-foot-9, she’s the U.S. team’s tallest defender, an advantage that showed when she was the only player that could contain Charlotte North in the U.S. Blue-White scrimmage last summer. The world championship is a grind with up to eight games in 11 days. Keeping mentally strong is paramount. Mercer’s mere presence is an advantage.
The reigning Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse Defensive Player of the Year, Block got better during the pandemic. Her conditioning improved and she reconnected with the game. Block's ability to step out on attackers and own the one-on-one matchup with physicality makes life easier for those around her.
Douty is another muscular defender. “Her battles with [Kayla] Treanor are epic,” Levy said. It goes back to when Douty guarded Treanor in college at Maryland and Syracuse, respectively. On the rare occasions Douty does get beat by an opponent, Levy added, “Her recovery always puts somebody in checkmate.”
Trenchard, a fifth-year senior at North Carolina and the youngest player on the U.S. team, will be a four-time first-team All-American. Speaking of collegiate battles, Trenchard, 23, has gone toe-to-toe with everyone from Sam Apuzzo to Charlotte North. Her basketball background shines through when the matchup beckons.
The least heralded of the BC Three put the world on notice with her WPLL championship MVP performance in 2019 and carried that momentum into the 2021 Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse season as the fourth-highest midfielder on the leaderboard — despite missing three games due to injuries. Arsenault started her college career as a defender. Versatility is so important in the international game with just 18 roster spots. Double her if you dare. Levy likened Arsenault to a point guard who can distribute the ball well under pressure.
Levy nearly lost in her U.S. debut. Cummings came to the rescue. She scored four goals and pulled down 12 draw controls to lead the U.S. to a 14-10 win over then-defending James Madison in the 2018 Fall Classic. The U.S. trailed 9-8 at one point. “We're down to James Madison and I see Taylor hit beast mode mentally,” Levy said. “She took over the game and made sure we won. I thanked her afterward.” The only three-time Tewaaraton winner in history, Cummings, 27, remains in her prime. She was the inaugural Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse champion last summer.
Remember when Stony Brook was supposed to recede after Kylie Ohlmiller and Courtney Murphy graduated? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Kennedy put the Seawolves on her back. “She’s like a pit bull,” Levy said. “Fast, shifty, tough. If we want to double-team in the middle of the field or off draws, she just picks up the ground balls. And she's an incredibly explosive player offensively.” In a testament to the numerous ways in which she can contribute, Kennedy ranks in the top 10 all-time at Stony Brook for goals, assists, points, ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers.
Still in college when she made the 2017 World Cup team, McCool, like Cummings, can take over a game with her draw-taking ability, defensive tenacity and scoring prowess. “When you say utility, it often means there's nothing flashy about her,” Levy said. “But she’s a do-it-all middie with a lot of flash to her.” A three-time first-team All-American and the first player in ACC history to be named the conference midfielder of the year twice, McCool is one of six players — one-third of the roster — who remain from the 2017 squad. Her compete level is off the charts. "If she gets mad, watch out," Levy said. "She can do things on the field that other people can't do."
Injured during her first training camp, Colson showed enough that Levy invited her back after the pandemic added a year to this cycle. Levy referred to Colson, the reigning IWLCA Defender of the Year, as a “wrecking ball” and “spicy player.”
Mastroianni came alive late in the selection process. She slots in well alongside more established middies and at 5-9 gives the unit length especially on draws.
Parros might be the most underrated midfielder. She loves to run, creating a ton of transition opportunities. She operates well without the ball, creating seams for others.
No one celebrates her teammates like Apuzzo. That matters. And she’s the best riding attacker in the country. That matters too. Which is to say nothing of the former Tewaaraton Award winner’s ability to dodge, distribute, play any spot in the rotation and work with any combination of players. “Just this amazing, versatile talent,” Levy said. It helps that Apuzzo, an assistant coach at Boston College, has the BC connection with Charlotte North and Kayla Treanor.
What makes for a transcendent talent? It’s someone who does things on the field that have never been done before, who changes the game by the way she plays. North fits the bill, yet finds herself humbled in the presence of her idols on the U.S. team. “She’s been inspired by the Michelle Tumolos, the Katrina Dowds, the Kayla Treanors,” Levy said. “She’s the newest generational player that has that type of range and creativity in her play.” The reigning Tewaaraton Award winner had a historic 2021 campaign, setting the NCAA single-season goals record and leading Boston College to its first NCAA title.
The U.S. expects to see a lot of zone defenses in the world championship, which magnifies the need for a big target and fearless finisher like Hendrick. Levy described her as the “glue player” of the unit. Hendrick's mic'd up clips showed off some of the personality her teammates have come to appreciate. “And she can finish the heck out of the ball,” Kylie Ohlmiller said.
For her part, Ohlmiller saw plenty of zone sets from her own defense at Stony Brook. The all-time leading scorer in NCAA history (498 points), she’s the only pure lefty on attack, though Treanor operates seamlessly on that side as well. Ohlmiller said the Athletes Unlimited experience helped her learn how to play with different attack mates, including those with whom she will suit up in Towson.
The consummate playmaker, Treanor could score seven goals and act like it’s no big deal. She was a two-time Player of the Match in the 2017 world championship, setting a U.S. record with 43 points in the tournament. This offense runs through the K-Train. She’s the only player on the team that’s a college head coach. “There’s a lot of exciting attackers to watch on the list,” Treanor said. “The key is just to let us go, have some fun and play together. That’s kind of what happens when all the best players in the world get to play together. When someone plays her best, it just elevates your game. All these players are able to put on a show. It’s really natural .”