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Archive for July 26, 2021

June 26, 2021 — My 14

This evening, Kayla Wood, Kayla Traynor, Haley Warden, and Dempsey Arsenault — the four highest point-scorers in Athletes Unlimited women’s lacrosse last weekend — will be choosing up sides for this coming weekend’s games.

This kind of “rotisserie” drafting for each week’s fixtures is a hallmark of Athletes Unlimited thus far. But it also has people on social media asking the question, “What kind of lacrosse team can you draft?”

I have pointed out on this site that, while 56 great players are in this player pool, others are not in the pool for one reason or another. And, at the risk of hubris, I do think I could field a competitive side with 14 women’s lacrosse players who are not in the league at all.

A few ground rules: First off, no players with college eligibility. That rules out fifth-year seniors like Charlotte North or Jamie Ortega, and top prep players like Mallory Hasselbeck or Fran Frieri.

Second, despite my fealty for great players of the past like Cherie Greer, Jen Adams, Quinn Carney and Sarah Forbes, our goal is to pick a side which could have a realistic chance of competing in this league, if money were not an object to fly in the players and have them train for a few days.

Fourth, we’re designating two goaltenders for this team, since all of the AU teams are employing two netminders.

Finally, this entire thing is a thought experiment. A number of these players may have had their own reasons for not being in the league, so this is more of a “what if?”

Here is our team:

GOAL: Gussie Johns, the U.S. women’s national team goaltender is a special, special player with great instincts, the willingness and ability to double, and makes the difficult save.

GOAL: Megan Taylor is a Tewaaraton Trophy winner, and the Maryland alumna got better every day by facing the likes of Taylor Cummings and Zoe Stukenberg on a daily basis.

DEFENSE: Julia Braig can not only bring you a number of caused turnovers in this wide-open game, but I was impressed with her ability to carry the ball up the pitch with great speed and skill to build an attack. I called her “The Human Ridebreaker” when she was at Maryland.

DEFENSE: Cara Trombetta was a great player and leader at Florida, and a person who caused the most turnovers of anyone in Gators history.

DEFENSE: Taylor Thornton was a fearsome defender while at Northwestern, and the free-range nature of the pro game will allow her to showcase her all-around talents in the attack half, too.

MIDFIELD: Elena Romesburg, the James Madison graduate, always seems to make things happen in the attacking third of the field. She was also a player who seemingly was made for the pro game.

MIDFIELD: Kate Canizzaro was a tenacious all-rounder at North Carolina, and I think the open spaces of the 9-v-9 game will make her a deadly attack threat.

MIDFIELD/DC: Zoe Stukenberg was one of the great all-around midfielders for Maryland in the 2000s, who could play defense, score goals, and win draws in a variety of ways.

MIDFIELD/DC : Dana Dobbie, who was a record-setting player at the University of Maryland, may have been even better as a post-graduate player. She lit up the UWLX with the Baltimore Ride and the WPLL with the Baltimore Brave with an array of stick skills several years before Charlotte North lit up social media with her stick tricks.

MIDFIELD/DC : Kali Hartshorn was on the way to breaking a number of Maryland and NCAA records as a draw-taker before COVID intervened. She also has shown a penchant for scoring big goals in big games.

ATTACK: Kara Mupo, the former Northwestern star, was an excellent scorer for the Philadelphia Force of UWLX and the New England Command of WPLL, and seemed to thrive in the open spaces of the pro game.

ATTACK: Selena Lasota, who also played at Northwestern, was a game-changer in so many ways. She would be the focus of the attack in our system.

ATTACK: Megan Whittle played on one of the great teams in scholastic history as well as Maryland. I think the professional game suits her quickness and penchant for improvisation.

ATTACK: Laura Zimmerman, at her prime at UNC, was one of the quickest players I have ever seen. In the pro role, she would be a great disruptor.