WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The momentum and team dynamic from last month’s Team USA Fall Classic, held at US Lacrosse headquarters, was apparent as the U.S. women’s national team wrapped up its two games Saturday victorious.

With a roster nearly identical to the Fall Classic, head coach Jenny Levy’s team is building chemistry as they work through the training cycle leading up to the 2021 World Cup at Towson University. But as important as this training opportunity is for the program, it was the chance to inspire the sport’s next generation of players that really made the weekend.

“This is exactly why we’ve brought the team here the past two years,” Levy said. “Our goal is to get as much visibility and exposure as possible for our players so when we ask a young athlete who their favorite U.S. team player is, they’ll know the whole team and who their favorite players are, what their moves are, and they want to go into their backyard and emulate them. That will start to ignite real passion for our sport and help to continue growing it in the future.”

The team’s matchups, played in conjunction with the IWLCA Presidents Cup at the International Polo Grounds in West Palm Beach, Fla., started with a 19-16 victory in an exhibition against the WPLL played using 6-on-6 trial rules.

The action was lively with both teams making exciting runs back and forth and drew plenty of excitement from the fans, most of whom were seeing the trial rules for the first time in action, but the fans weren’t the only ones excited by the action of the game.

“The athleticism, skill and passion that the girls had for the game was clearly evident on the field,” Levy said. “What a great moment for women’s lacrosse to showcase the Olympic game in front of such a great crowd who came out enthusiastically cheering and able to see their favorite players in action.”

For the U.S., Kylie Ohlmiller set the tone with six goals and one assist. Ally Kennedy and Taylor Cummings also had impact performances with five points each. Kennedy finished with three goals and two assists while Cummings had two goals and three assists.

Later in the evening, the U.S. team held a Blue-White exhibition, played under Federation of International Lacrosse rules, that the White team held on in the final two minutes to win 12-11. Marie McCool led the way for the White team with three goals and one assist while Syracuse senior Emily Hawryschuk had a standout performance for the Blue team with two goals and an assist.

“We had an incredible day with these amazing fans out here watching on this beautiful night,” Levy said after the second exhibition. “We have a lot of talent and speed out there and the girls played with a ton of passion. I’m really happy about today and really excited to continue with the process.”

The U.S. team will next hit the field in June 2020 as it continues through the training cycle for the 2021 World Cup.

Inspiring the next generation

Over the course of the weekend, every aspect of the team’s training and playing itinerary was open to attendees at the tournament. When the hard work on the field was completed, the team also spent plenty of time interacting with the athletes playing in the tournament.

For one junior from Green, Ohio, this was the opportunity of a lifetime. Adrianna Futo, a member of the Ohio Premier, started playing the sport in the last year for the first time and hasn’t put down her stick since.

As a former golf athlete, Futo was missing the dynamic of playing on a team. When her friends convinced her to try lacrosse for the first time, she was hooked.

While being victorious with her team was a top priority for the weekend, she also made sure she wouldn’t miss her opportunity to potentially meet her lacrosse role models. For Futo and other athletes in attendance for the U.S. team autograph session Friday afternoon, they had more than just the opportunity to meet their role models.

Athletes at the session were surprised when members of the U.S. team asked if they wanted to play a round of catch. The moment Futo was asked, she was, as she described, “flabbergasted.”

“I’m speechless,” Futo responded when asked about her experience playing catch with her favorite U.S. team members. “It was the greatest day of my life. I learned how to do a behind-the-back that I didn’t know how to do before, and I got to learn it from a U.S. team player!”

USA 19, WPLL 16

USA Goals: Kylie Ohlmiller 6, Ally Kennedy 3, Marie McCool 2, Taylor Cummings 2, Emily Hawryschuk 2, Alice Mercer 2, Dempsey Arsenault 1, Sam Apuzzo 1

USA Assists: Taylor Cummings 3, Dempsey Arsenault 2, Ally Kennedy 2, Kayla Treanor 2, Liz Hogan 1, Marie McCool 1, Kylie Ohlmiller 1

WPLL Goals: Hannah Nielsen 4, Amanda Johansen 3, Emily Parros 3, Kenzie Kent 2, Sydney Pirreca 2, Danna Dobbie 1, Shelby Fredericks 1

WPLL Assists: Hannah Nielsen 4, Amanda Johansen 3, Shelby Fredericks 3, Emily Parros 1, Sydney Pirreca 1

USA White 12, USA Blue 11

Blue Goals: Michelle Tumolo 2, Emily Hawryschuk 2, Kylie Ohlmiller 2, Taylor Cummings 1, Kerrigan Miller 1, Katie Haus 1, Ally Kennedy 1, Molly Hendrick 1

Blue Assists: Taylor Cummings 1, Emily Hawryschuk 1

White Goals: Marie McCool 3, Sam Apuzzo 2, Katrina Dowd 2, Emily Parros 2, Amanda Johansen 1, Molly Garrett 1, Kayla Treanor 1

White Assists: Sam Apuzzo 1, Dempsey Arsenault 1, Katrina Dowd 1, Molly Garrett 1, Marie McCool 1