Experience Preferred, But Hardly Essential

Women's Lacrosse World Cup

U.s. Team Was Green, But It Brought Home The Gold

July 02, 2009|By Aaron Wright | Aaron Wright,aaron.wright@baltsun.com

Before the U.S. women's lacrosse team began competition in the Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup, head coach Sue Heether said, her biggest worry was her players' lack of international experience.

Watching the way 22-year-old Amber Falcone, one of the squad's youngest players, performed en route to being named the tournament's best defender put those concerns to rest as Team USA went on to take the gold medal in Prague.

The team arrived at US Lacrosse headquarters in Baltimore on Wednesday to celebrate its victory. Heether, Falcone and midfielder Caitlyn McFadden spoke about the triumph and what it meant to represent their country.

"It's just amazing," said Falcone, a Winters Mill graduate from Westminster. "I haven't had time to think about it. It's such an honor. It's one thing to represent a college, but to wear the red, white and blue - there's no better feeling than that."

Said McFadden, a former Notre Dame Prep standout who plays for the University of Maryland: "We just had great team chemistry. It was a complete team effort. No big egos. We were totally in support of everyone, which helped people play their best."

Despite having an average age of 26, much younger than the 15 teams it faced, Team USA placed five players on the All-World team: defenders Falcone and Gina Oliver, midfielders Kristen Kjellman and Sarah Albrecht, and attacker Lindsey Munday.

The Americans won the gold in dramatic fashion over Australia, to which they lost in the 2005 World Cup final. Entering the second half with the score tied at 3, the U.S. scored five unanswered goals and endured a rally by the Australians, pulling out an 8-7 victory.

"It shows how much our team believes in each other and that we never gave up, no matter if we were down at the half or tied or whatever it was. We just kept playing and had confidence the whole time," McFadden said.

Added Falcone: "It shows our heart and dedication. There was no doubt in our minds that we could bring this home."

The victory was especially sweet for Heether, who, after playing on World Cup-winning teams in 1993, 1997 and 2001, watched the U.S. fall to Australia in the 2005 tournament.

"I've been one of the luckiest human beings on the face of the Earth when it comes to this sport," she said.

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