Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

June 15, 2022 — A giant step forward

I didn’t want to go much further without recognizing the fact that a new wave of girls’ lacrosse talent is beginning to sweep to the top of the medals stand at major tournaments.

Well, not just any major tournament, but the U.S. Lacrosse national championship, held during the Final Four weekend at Cedar Lane Regional Park in Bel Air, Md.

The tournament brings together regional teams from across the U.S. in seven divisions. The divisions used to be referred to by names of Native American tribes, but their names are now colors.

Still, it’s interesting that two divisions in the 2022 tournament — the Violet and the Blue divisions — which were won by teams which didn’t represent a designated region.

Instead, the teams that won these two divisions were nationwide all-star teams assembled by Nations United.

Nations United is an effort to increase ethnic and racial diversity in lacrosse across the country. Nations United has been able to train individual athletes for placement in Division I college programs, but the way that the nationwide all-star teams have been playing has garnered plenty of attention.

I saw a documentary on Nations United as they had what was called a “summit” meeting and tournament with other girls’ all-star teams at U.S. Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks-Glencoe, Md.

The Nations United team played magnificent lacrosse during the documentary, and also did so at the Women’s National Tournament, winning all 10 games they played. Indeed, the only match that was close was Nations United 2’s opener, an 11-10 squeaker over a Pittsburgh-area side.

We’ve already seen some recent excellence by players of color at the top levels of girls’ and women’s lacrosse, with Kayla Wood scoring top-5 points in Athletes Unlimited as a defender, and Madison Beale of Brooklandville St. Paul’s (Md.) being named the Player of the Year in the greater Baltimore area by the Sun Newspapers.

But Nations United’s feat should never be overestimated nor forgotten, especially as the sport expands not only geographically, but demographically. It’s an astonishing and most welcome development.

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