Despite all the accolades, Mikaela Rix and Cortney Fortunato still refuse to regard themselves among the world's best lacrosse players. No need. Team USA essentially made that statement for them.
They were among eight Long Islanders selected for the women's national team, US Lacrosse announced last week.
Rix (Garden City), Fortunato (Northport), Kelly McPartland (Farmingdale), Danielle Etrasco (Massapequa), Alyssa Leonard (Bay Shore), Becky Lynch (Garden City), Maggie Bill (Cold Spring Harbor) and Alyssa Murray (West Babylon) made the 38-player roster after an invitation-only tryout this month. Katie Hertsch, a Maryland native and Hofstra alum, also was chosen.
"It's a tremendous honor," said Rix, a Boston College junior. "It's really exciting to represent the country and team up with friends and some of the women I've looked up to."
The group will compete in exhibition tournaments leading up to the FIL World Cup in 2017 in England. Etrasco, a Boston University alum, helped Team USA win gold in the 2013 World Cup.
Fortunato, a Notre Dame freshman, said this roster is further proof that "Long Island is a lacrosse hotbed." She and Bill, friends since fifth grade, were the youngest players selected. Bill starred at St. Anthony's and excelled as a freshman for North Carolina's lacrosse and soccer teams. McPartland, a Maryland junior, led the Terrapins over Murray's Syracuse team for the NCAA title last month. McPartland, Rix and Fortunato also were members of Team USA's under-19 team, which won the 2011 world championship.
"The tryouts were really challenging and the level of talent is unbelievable," Fortunato said, "so it's extremely rewarding to make the team and be on it with people you grew up playing with."