LI’s Yellow Jackets Dominate US Lacrosse National Championships

Photos by AJ Mast
Photos by AJ Mast

LI’s Yellow Jackets Dominate US Lacrosse National Championships

by Paul Krome | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | Tournament Home

WESTFIELD, Ind. — The Long Island Yellow Jackets arrived at the eighth annual US Lacrosse National Championships on a mission. They left Grand Park here today with gold medals – in all three age divisions.

Mission accomplished.

Top-seeded Yellow Jackets 2019 Blue (N.Y.) stifled second-seeded Liberty (N.Y.), 7-4, in the U15 final, earning the Jackets a three-peat. They celebrated that feat at roughly the same time their 2020 Blue squad knocked off Integrity 2020 (Md.) in the U14 championship game and their 2021 Blue team defeated 3d Select National (Colo.) in the U13 final.

“We talked about this tournament since early summer – the parents, the girls,” a Gatorade-soaked club director and coach Carol Rainson-Rose said. “We wanted to three-peat U15 and sweep the gold in the other divisions.”

Here’s how:

U15: Quick Start, Defense Carry Jackets in Final

Against a resurgent Liberty program that knocked off Yellow Jackets 2019 Gold and Integrity 2019 (Md.) to reach the championship game for the first time, midfielder Alexa Gentile scored three goals and added an assist to pace YJ 2019 Blue’s offense. Two of those goals game in the first half, when the Jackets got off to leads of 3-0 and 6-2 at the half.

“Today, we just wanted to stay with the draw and dump if it was working,” Gentile, who will be a freshman at St. Anthony’s in the fall. She did not seem to mind the bandage around her right hamstring, which she tweaked yesterday after injuring it the previous week.

After Katie Bellucci got Liberty on the board with 13:28 left in the first half, Gentile answered unassisted a minute later, then fed Jamie Biskup at 11:11 to restore the Jackets’ comfortable margin.

From there YJ Blue turned to its defense and took the air out of the ball.

“Our defense has been relentless, but we also play with poise and discipline,” Rose said. “It’s about controlling your sticks. We did not get a lot of yellow cards.”

When the 7-4 final was in the books, there was nothing routine about the Jackets’ celebration.

“It’s about representing your team,” Gentile said, “and showing that the Yellow Jackets are not going anywhere.”

Top Guns Black (N.Y.) defeated Integrity 2019, 16-10, in the third-place game, earning back-to-back medals following last year’s runner-up performance.

U14: Jackets Bust Open Competitive Game in Second Half

The expanded event meant brackets for U14 and U13 teams for the first time. In the U14 final, top-seeded Yellow Jackets 2020 Blue (N.Y.) scored the first five goals of the second half to extend a 9-4 lead into a 14-4 advantage over second-seeded Integrity 2020 (Md.). The Jackets prevailed by a 15-5 final.

Midfielder Jennifer Markey had three goals and two assists, and attacker Ashley Gonzalez added her own hat trick for the Jackets. Integrity battled in the first half behind two assists from Kristin O’Neill and a goal and assist by Madeline Lenkart. But after O’Neill fed Kathleen Bevan with 8:53 remaining in the half to bring the Marylanders within 5-4, the Yellow Jackets took over. Markey scored two of the Jackets’ next four goals, all before halftime.

The U14 third-place game saw Florida Select 2020/2021 score the last three goals of the contest to defeat Team 180 2021 (Colo.), 10-8. Kylie Hazen scored four goals for Florida Select.

U13: Jackets Control 3d Select, 13-3

Second-seeded Yellow Jackets 2021 Blue (N.Y.) got two goals apiece from Skylar Carrasquillo, Alayna Costa, Giana Murphy and Jessica Morrisroe to defeat fourth-seeded 3d Select National (Colo.), 13-3. Julia Carrera added three assists, all in the first half, to help Long Island jump ahead 6-1 at the break. Three different players scored for 3d Select in the loss.

In the third-place game, Elizabeth Taylor scored back-to-back goals in the last six minutes to help Liberty rally from an 8-7 deficit to defeat Yellow Jackets 2021 Gold, 9-8. Taylor finished with a hat trick. It marked the second straight one-goal loss for YJ 2021 Gold, which fell in a marathon semifinal to 3d Select yesterday. Katherine Considine scored three goals and had two assists in the loss to Liberty.

Lacrosse Monkey (Minn.) earned the sportsmanship award for the girls’ division of the US Lacrosse National Championships.