We’d love to tell the story of a dramatic comeback or surprising uprising; the underdog’s triumph. But this ain’t one of those.
This one seemed inevitable, which is a testament to their dominance. Team USA stormed through the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship tournament and finished it off Saturday with a 14-11 win over Australia in the gold medal game in Hannover, Germany. It’s the United States’ fourth straight women’s Under-19 title (1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011).
Australia won in 1995, the event’s inaugural year, but Team USA has beaten them in the final of each world championship since. This year's team included four Long Islanders: Cortney Fortunato (Northport), Kelly McPartland (Farmingdale) and Barbara Sullivan and Mikaela Rix of Garden City. Northport's Shannon Gilroy had been chosen, but she suffered a torn ACL in the Class A state final in June and couldn't play.
Fortunato scored three goals. Her second tied the score at 8, and her third gave the U.S. an 11-8 lead with 14 minutes left. Rix scored twice. Tatum Coffey, of Tom’s River, N.J., had a goal and an assist and was named Player of the Match.
"It says a lot that a coach from Maryland [U-19 head coach Krystin Porcella] selected so many Long Island girls," Farmingdale assistant coach and MSG Varsity lacrosse analyst Tracy Wiener said. "All the high school coaches in this area take pride in that. For me, Kelly [McPartland] is the greatest Daler ever and I'm extremely proud of all the things she's accomplished. But even if they didn't play for your team, they all feel like our girls. We know them and their families, and they've represented Long Island so well."
To the Australians' credit, they gave Team USA its toughest challenge in the tournament, considering the Americans had outscored their previous opponents 115-32. That includes a 20-7 drubbing of Australia in pool play. The U.S. had beaten Scotland in the quarterfinals, 13-1, and England, 19-5, in the semis on Friday. The championship game was their most competitive and went back and forth early on, before the U.S. seized control late.
"Long Island has been good for a while and now we're competing with Maryland and New Jersey for the national spotlight," Wiener said. "This is the most girls we've ever had selected for the U-19. We had five chosen plus an alternate (Eastport-South Manor's Dene' DiMartino). And they couldn't have picked a better group. I think these girls have built a legacy and they're setting a standard for the rest of kids to follow."