By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/6/12
BOYDS, Md. – Chelsea Rosiek had nothing but praise for her girls several days after coaching the Pennsylvania girls’ middle school team to its second straight championship Tuesday at the Brine National Lacrosse Classic at the Maryland Soccerplex.
Pennsylvania, comprised mostly of Philly girls, rallied to defeat top-seeded Long Island-North, 9-8, in overtime. Pennsylvania had rallied from a two-goal deficit twice in the final 10 minutes of play and won it when Laura Pansini (Baldwin School rising freshman) scored twice at the end of regulation and then 20 seconds into OT to win it.
“I am so proud of these girls,” said Rosiek, who was head coach at Wissahickon this year and recently took the job as coach at Chestnut Hill College. “They demonstrated the heart and desire of players twice their age.
“It (the Long Island North win) was such an exciting game. The whole time I was coaching, I had a feeling they would come back. These girls embody the attributes of great players. They have the desire, skill, and intensity that are required to win championships.”
The National Lacrosse Classic featured tournament play for regional teams in high school and middle school divisions. The event lasted from Sunday to Tuesday and drew thousands of fans to the Soccerplex, located in Southern Maryland.
The middle school tournament was part of the Brine All-Star Lacrosse Academy, which featured top-notch instruction from college coaches and elite college players.
“They learn big concepts and then are immediately allowed to apply them to game situations, which I feel helps them absorb the skills quickly and makes them stick,” said Rosiek. “They also are coached by so many wonderful college coaches and players that they admire, which gives them the desire to push themselves to reach that level of success.”
Since the PA players were chosen from a tryout held at Germantown Academy, few had played together before the tourney. But Rosiek said the team jelled quickly.
“There was so much team unity and desire to have everyone involved,” she said. “Every girl contributed to our wins as girls stepped up to play positions they hadn’t normally played.”
Pansini was one of several returnees to the program. She welcomed the instruction and ability to apply her skills in game situations.
“I have gotten so much out of the program,” said Pansini, who started as an 8th-grader at Baldwin this year. “We worked on a lot; position training, attack and defense. We worked on shooting and 3v2s and where to position yourself and where to cut and never to stay behind the goal because you can’t score from there.
“We worked on 8-meter shots and how to hold your stick in – lots of great techniques.”
Pansini’s sister, Maria, who is headed to 7th grade at Baldwin, played in the tourney/academy for the first time as one of the youngest players.
“Since my sister did it last I decided to go to the tryouts,” she said. “I just came here with one goal: To play my best and to improve. I liked playing with bigger girls and better girls; when I get back to middle school I’ll have this under my belt.”
Rosiek said the PA team succeeded due to contributions from all players. Pennsylvania lost just once in pool play, but entered the playoffs as the No. 3 seed. It advanced to the championship game by downing second-seeded Maryland, 9-5 and then knocked off the undefeated Long Island squad.
Rosiek noted all players and their contributions 9see full roster below):
The PA goalies were Mia Tornetta and Anne Carroll, who each stood out especially in the playoffs. Defenders included Michelle Barnes (named defensive MVP with 13 caused turnovers after being moved back from attack), Christina Balestra (seven caused turnovers, also played attack).
Midfielders included Christine Carugati (played key defense in the title game), Missy Frankil (key two-way player), Katy Crager (was youngest player, game ting goal in semifinal win), Madeline Gebert (key in transition game and on draws), Emily Mathewson (a key returnee, one of top scorers and provided strong all-around play), Kara Nakrasius (provided great speed and was a key in transition), Madi O’Brien (a key on both offense and defense), Laura Pansini (leading scorer, had four goals in title win), and Maria Pansini (played on both sides of field).
The attack featured Lauren Brenner (key as a scorer and feeder), Isabelle Jenkins (a leading scorer and had two big ones in title game to forge a 5-5 tie), Camryn Luidens (a constant threat on attack), Makenzie Staska (a consistent force on offense), Samantha Swart (one of the top scorers and a tenacious player), and Jordan Wood (a returnee who was a key on the draws).
PA Middle School Girls All-Star roster
Balestra, Christine, M, 2016, Trappe, PA
Barnes, Michelle, A, 2016, Garnet Valley, PA
Brenner, Lauren, A, 2016, Glen Mills, PA
Carroll, Anne, G, 2017, Fallsington, PA
Carugati, Christine, M, 2016, Langhorne, PA
Frankil Missy, M, 2016, Newtown, PA
Crager, Katie, M, 2018, Berwyn, PA
Gebert, Madeline, M, 2016, Pottstown, PA
Jacobs, Isabelle, A, 2017, Blue Bell, PA
Luidens, Camryn, M, 2017, West Chester, PA
Mathewson, Emily, M, 2016, Garnet Valley, PA-
Nakrasius Kara, M, 2016, Garnet Valley, PA
O’Brien, Madi, M, 2017, Glen Mills, PA
Pansini, Laura, M, 2016, Villanova, PA
Pansini, Maria, M, 2018, Villanova, PA
Staska, Makenzie, M, 2017, West Chester, PA
Swart, Samantha, A, 2017, Coopersburg, PA
Tornetta, Mia, G, 2017, Frazer, PA
Wood, Jordan, A, 2016, Hockessin, DE\
Bourque, Meagan, A, Seabrook, TX
one other player from Texas contributed to team, name not provided