The Connecticut 2024 team ended the Nike American Select Tournament the way began it – with a victory.
And the talented team’s tournament ending triumph resulted in a well-earned championship.
Connecticut, a team featuring girls high school athletes entering their junior year of school, won six of its seven games in the national tournament, which was held in Delaware from July 28-30.
Coached by Caitlin Copelan, who coaches the girls lacrosse team at Greenwich Country Day School and Ashley Humphrey, a Darien High School graduate, who plays on the women’s lacrosse team at Stanford University, the Connecticut 2024 American Select squad won the tournament’s championship by coming back to defeat the Maryland Red team, 9-8, in overtime in the title game on July 30.
Among the 24 players on Connecticut’s roster were Emma Abbazia of Greenwich High School and Dylan Casazza of Greenwich Academy. Many of the athletes on the American Select title-winning team played against and with each other on their respective FCIAC teams during the spring season and are teammates with the Connecticut Grizzlies club lacrosse program. Besides coaching lacrosse at Greenwich Country Day School, Copelan coaches at Sound Lacrosse.
“I really respected the way they came together and bought into what we were specifically trying to do on both ends of the field,” Copelan said. “This group of athletes was super competitive and coachable and it was a great experience to be a part of.”
In American Select Tournament’s championship game, Maryland got the ball on the opening possession, but midfielder Kathryn Norton of New Canaan took a key charge, giving Connecticut possession. On the ensuing possession, midfielder Devon Russell from New Canaan scored the game-winning goal for Connecticut.
“Against Maryland, we had to fight back and bear down and come up with a couple of hustle plays here and there,” Copelan said. “We stuck with it and got it to overtime.”
Connecticut began competition in the American Select tourney with a 13-8 win over Florida on July 28 in its first game of pool play. The second game, also on July 28, saw Connecticut roll to a 17-2 victory against Long Island Red. Connecticut’s lone loss in the tournament came in its third game of pool play, a 12-9 defeat against New Jersey.
The Connecticut 2024 team got back on the winning track by edging Pennsylvania, 9-8, a victory that qualified them for the tournament’s four-team championship bracket.
In the quarterfinals, Connecticut topped Maryland Yellow, 12-2, then in the semifinals they pulled out an 11-10 comeback win over Long Island Black.
Copelan noted that Wilton’s Addison Pattillo, Darien’s Sadie Stafford, Russell and Darien’s Kelly Holmes helped lead the team offensively. Abbazia, who plays at Greenwich High provided stellar play at midfield, while Casazza, who competes at Greenwich Academy, helped fortify the attack position.
“It was cool to get to know the kids and get them all together,” Copelan said. “Once we got going, it was a lot of fun. It was an awesome tournament with super high-level lacrosse with a lot of great regions.”
The Connecticut 2024 American Select team’s championship roster included: Dylan Cassaza (Greenwich Academy, attack), Avery Doran (Hotchkiss School, attack), Kelly Holmes (Darien, attack), Addison Pattillo (Wilton, attack), Truus Van Wees (Taft, attack), Emma Abbazzia (Greenwich, midfielder), Leah Kaufer (Syosset, midfield), Aerin Keeser (Fairfield Ludlowe, midfielder), Caroline Trinkaus (Ridgefield, midfielder), Lexie Tully (New Canaan, midfielder), Sarah Zwack (Weston, midfielder), Kathryn Norton (New Canaan, midfielder), Devon Russell (New Canaan, midfielder), Sadie Stafford (Darien, midfielder), Madison Sweeney (Stamford, midfielder), Margaret Bellissimo (Darien, defense), Josie Goldman (Wilton, defense), Hannah Kozik (Ellington, defense), Brinley Vrooman (Darien, defense), Charlotte Walter (Greens Farms Academy, defense), Elizabeth Gonnella, Darien, goalie), Hope Schoudel (Darien, goalie).
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