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Philly girls help lead Team Heather Leigh Albert to Vail Lacrosse Shootout U19 championship

Thursday, 28th June 2018

Categories Girl's/Women's, High School  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 6/28/18

Six Philly girls helped Team Heather Leigh Albert claim the U19 Girls’ championship Wednesday at the Vail Lacrosse Shootout.

Philly girls playing for Vail Lacrosse Shootout champion Team HLA were (from left) Charlotte Albert, Maria Pansini, Madison Doucette, Natalie Pansini, Katie Detwiler and Annabelle Albert

Agnes Irwin’s Maria Pansini (2018 DEF, Princeton commit) and Natalie Pansini (2020 MF, Princeton commit), Lawrenceville School’s Annabelle Albert (2018 MF, Georgetown signee) and sister Charlotte Albert (2019 ATT, uncommitted), Unionville’s Madison Doucette (2018 G, Northwestern signee) and Archbishop Carroll’s Katie Detwiler (2018 MF, Loyola signee) helped Team HLA topple Les Diables Bleus (Duke commits), 8-6, in the title game.

Team HLA is typically comprised of about one-third Philly players with other elite players from Maryland and New York. The squad was created to honor the memory of Heather Leigh Albert (standout at Germantown Academy and Perkiomen School, Loyola and Villanova) and the Heather Leigh Albert Lacrosse Foundation. Annabelle and Charlotte are her nieces and their father, Sean served as a coach.

Maria Pansini, who helped lead Agnes Irwin to a share of the Inter-Ac League title and the PAISAA crown this spring, said the team meshed well from the start. The squad began playing pool play games on Sunday, but went to Vail last Thursday to get used to the high altitude.

“We wanted to get acclimated and when we went to practice Friday I got really winded at first and had to catch my breath after some quick springs,” Pansini said. “It was like breathing through a straw at first. But we got used to it.”

Pansini said Team HLA had plenty of talent, but also worked together.

“Actually, coach Sean Albert, at the first meeting, said it was an advantage to have 19 really strong girls and also a disadvantage if we don’t play as a team,” she said. “If the talent is used for playing as one collective team, it can work. It was incredible to play on this team. Everyone trusted everyone. We had some of the best players in the country; it was an experience I could not explain.”

Pansini was happy to see her sister, Natalie, hold her own against the top seniors in the country.

“I love playing with my sister,” she said. “For Natalie to get the opportunity and play at this level at such a young age is great. She was thriving.”

In the title game, Team HLA broke open a close game and bolted to an 8-3 lead before giving up three late goals.

“It was low scoring and both defenses played well,” Maria Pansini said. “Then we began really playing very well. They had a few turnovers and we won a few draws and then started to pull away.”

Pansini didn’t get much time to rest after returning home Wednesday. She leaves this afternoon to compete with Doucette and Detwiler for the North in the Under Armour Senior All-American Game at Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.

“I was a little tired yesterday but I got a day to rest and I have heard from people that this is one of the best experiences,” Pansini said. “I am very excited.”

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