TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Oct. 12, 2016 — Once sisters

Last weekend, U.S. Lacrosse hosted the Fall Classic, a five-team tournament held at Tierney Field in Sparks, Md.

The tournament was designed to give four of the top sides in the world — the United States, Australia, Canada, and England — a run-out before next summer’s FIL World Cup. It was also an opportunity for defending NCAA Division I champion North Carolina to add to its fall-ball schedule.

The tournament went pretty much as you might expect; the States won all four games they played, and the others were pretty much not in the same league.

That is, except for the first few minutes of the United States’ second game in the tournament against England. The Lions held a 5-0 lead early, but saw the U.S. make an enormous comeback to win 20-13.

Team England has a rather unusual pivot point in the offense: attacker Megan Whittle. Yep, that Megan Whittle. One of the finest prep players in history while at Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) who now plies her trade for the University of Maryland, she took her disappointment at not making the initial cut for the U.S. national team and, thanks to ancestry on her mother’s side, is now playing for the English national side.

England has participated in international competition for decades, but has never won a World Cup. Indeed, its closest call was in 1989, when the United States required a golden goal in order to beat England in Perth. Four years later, both the United States and England made the championship final, only to see the States win 4-1.

Now, over the years, World Cups have often seen a number of American citizens on other teams, either as players or as coaches. It’s just that you don’t see a potential Tewaaraton winner making the jump in the prime of her career.

Which is why next year’s World Cup is going to be much more intriguing than any in the recent past, I believe.

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