LILacrosseNews.com, Posted 9/8/11
Last month the United States U-19 team defeated Australia, 14-11, with as strong second-half to claim its fourth straight national championship in the Federation of International (FIL) tournament at Hannover, Germany.
The team featured four Long Island players – attack Cortney Fortunato (Northport, Class of 2013), midfielder Mikaela Rix (Garden City, 2011), midfielder Kelly McPartland (Farmingdale, 2011) and defender Barbara Sullivan (Garden City, 2011).
Fortunato and Rix were named All-World for the US squad, which rallied from a 6-3 deficit in the first half to defeat Australia and cap an undefeated tournament.
US coach Krystin Porcella gave this one-on-one interview with LILacrosseNews.com as she looks back at the championship run.
Question: How would you describe your thoughts on winning the world championship?
Porcella: “To be honest, it is hard to put into words. What being a part of the World Championship team means so much more than lacrosse.
“The honors are working with the players for the past year, seeing them grow as lacrosse players and as people, and seeing the relationships they developed with each other. Also, seeing my relationship with each player as the Head Coach and, seeing our players’ perspective change and their maturity develop as we played each game at the FIL World Games.
“Also, I enjoyed being a steward of the game of lacrosse. The games and our goal were about winning the Gold Medal, but the path to get there was full of friendship, respect and admiration from the other countries.
“We were not enemies in the hall ways or after the game, the other countries wanted to talk with our players and hang out with them. Our players embraced the other players and a community of lacrosse was formed and grew throughout the 10 day tournament. To see our players be a champion on and off the field is the greatest honor.
Question: The United States team appeared to respond so well to the great challenge made by the Australian team, which had fallen to the US, 20-7, in the first match. What did the squad do to dig down deep and make the comeback happen?
Porcella: “Australia is a very talented team. They played with every heart and emotion they had. When they jumped out to a 6-3 lead, our players started to panic a little and got away from the game plan.
“We were not playing as a team but rather a bunch of individuals trying to do it all by themselves. This was something we talked about all year; we are a team, we need each other… which can be the challenge when you bring the best player from each team together. Those top players are used to doing everything and not always relying on team mates.
“By halftime it was 7-7 – and give a lot of credit to Erin McMunn and Covie Stanwick for settling our offense down and getting us back to the offensive game plan. Mikaela Rix did her part in the midfield by winning draw controls and Caleigh Sindall anchored the defense. We needed leadership and those particular players settled us down and put us back on track to our game plan.”
Question: Can you describe the contributions from the Long Island players?
Porcella: Cortney Fortunato was a steady consistent factor on offense. In the second half of the Championship Game vs. Australia, Courtney wanted the ball in her stick and we wanted to put the ball there. She is such a threat. We encouraged her to take two hard steps to goal every time she caught the ball. By doing that, she either had the drive herself or the defensive slide would come and she could make the feed. She is that powerful of an attacker.
“Kelly McPartland is a solid midfielder who goes hard 100% of the time. She is very fast and makes plays happen with her hustle, whether it’s getting the ball back in the midfield or running by a defender on attack to create a scoring opportunity.
“Mikaela Rix had a great game vs. Australia. She saw the loose ball and attacked it. She saw her lane to goal and took it. She is a big strong player who makes a difference when she is on the field.
“Barbara Sullivan played defense for us, but can play anywhere on the field. She reads situations well so she is moving one step ahead of the play. She communicates well making the defensive unit solid. She is an all-around great player, and very unselfish.”
Question: What was it like to coach such a superb group of young women?
Porcella: “It was great seeing and being a part of this group of talented people that accomplish its goal. We set out on a mission to win the World Championship and we did.
“There were some bumps along the way; we addressed them, talked about them and were able to put things behind us. Even when we were down 6-3 to Australia in the Championship game, I knew our players were prepared, mentally strong enough and just wanted it enough to accomplish our goal.”
Box Score: USA 14, Australia 11
Goals: Stanwick 3, Fortunato 3, Cook 2, Rix 2, Coffey 1, McPartland 1, Smith 1, Treanor 1
Assists: Acton 1, Coffey 1, Fortunato 1
Saves: Duryea (9 saves, 11GA)
Draw Controls: 11-27
Goals: Mollison 5, Lowe 3, D. Justice Allen 2, Pickett 1
Assists: Bowland Curtis 1, D. Justice Allen 1, Lowe 1
Saves: Hinkes (8 saves, 14 GA)
Draw Controls: 16-27
FIL U19 All-World Team
A Cortney Fortunato USA
A Erin McMunn USA
A Danielle Mollison AUS
M Darcy Justice Allen AUS
M Taylor Landry CAN
M Kaylin Morisette CAN
M Mikaela Rix USA
M Taylor Trimble USA
D Stephanie McNamara AUS
D Caleigh Sindall USA
D Ruby Smith ENG
G Katie Donohue CAN
Final Top 7
All U-19 champions
1995: Australia 5, USA 4 (Haverford, Pa.)
1999: USA 15, Australia 8 (Perth, Australia)
2003: USA 21, Australia 8 (Towson, Md.)
2007: USA 18, Australia 3 (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada)
2011: USA 14, Australia 11 (Hannover, Germany)
Below are Team USA’s game-by-game results for the 2011 tourney:
Aug. 4: USA 19, Japan 5
Aug. 5: USA 13, Canada 6
Aug. 6: USA 15, Haudenosaunee 3
Aug. 7: USA 16, England 5
Aug. 9: USA 20, Australia 7
Aug. 10: USA 13, Scotland 1 (quarterfinal)
Aug. 12: USA 19, England 5 (semifinal)
Aug. 13: USA 14, Australia 11 (final)