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Ortega (Middle Country) helps #USAWLAX U19 team finish Champion Challenge with another rout; final cuts coming

Sunday, 18th January 2015

Categories Girl's/Women's, High school, Posted 1/18/15
Staff Report

Team USA’s U19 women’s team closed a near-perfect weekend at the Champion Challenge today with a 17-1 rout over Rollins in Naples, Fla.

The U19 team downed third-year Division I program Stetson 16-1 on Saturday afternoon, meaning it won two games over college programs by a combined 33-2. Now, US officials will make five cuts this week from the 25 man roster to create a final playing roster of 20 (two will be alternates) in preparation for the 2015 FIL Under-19 World Championship, July 23-Aug. 1 in Edinburgh, Scotland.US-lacrosse11

On Sunday, Team USA bolted to a 12-0 halftime lead against Rollins as nine players scored overall. Attack Miranda Ibello (Maryvale Prep-MD) tallied three goals for the second straight game while Brindi Griffin (McDonogh School-MD) and Lindsey Ronbeck (Manhasset-NY) each added three goals. Chloe Jones (Lawrenceville School-NJ) added three assists.

“We played extremely well together and our chemistry off the field really helped us connect on the field, making everything seem like we’ve known each other for years,” said USA attack Nikki Ortega (Middle Country-NY, Notre Dame signee), who had two goals and two assists on Saturday. “Also, our offensive plays have really improved over the past couple of days, along with our communication.

“The team works really well together and we just always know where each other will be. Our confidence in one another is definitely one of our biggest strengths; we know we can rely on each other in every play.

“Another strength of ours is our intensity and heart, both of which you can’t teach and everyone on this team has a tremendous amount of it. I think I need to improve on knowing when to dodge and when to pull the ball out. I have gotten much better on it over the course of these few days but I still need to work on it.”

Ortega said the experience was uplifting.

“I was not expecting a huge crowd like we had Saturday!” she said. “It was so surreal that all those people came to watch us, especially since I’ve never had a big crowd like that before.

“One of my favorite parts of this whole weekend was having little girls come up to me and ask for my autograph. Knowing that I’ve impacting their lives and that they know who I am is just incredible. I never thought when I started playing lacrosse I would influence so many girls lives. It was truly an amazing experience!

“This experience has helped me prepare for my high school season so much. I learned so much and have become such a smarter player. Having this incredible coaching staff has really opened my eyes to the game and I plan on bringing everything I have learned back to my sister and to my town.”



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