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The (UWLX) Dream Is Real!
The first season of the United Women’s Lacrosse League comes to a close with the Championship this weekend. To celebrate this major milestone, STX sat down with UWLX athletes from each team to hear their favorite moments from the year and what advice they would give to players trying out next year.
What was your favorite memory from the first UWLX season?
Devon Wills (Long Island Sound): Opening weekend at Lehigh. It was everyone’s first time playing with the new rules and it took us awhile to adjust, but we all left that game thinking, “That was fun!”
Liz Hogan (Boston Storm): The atmosphere during our game in Lincoln-Sudbury was incredible. We truly have some of the best fans supporting the Boston Storm, and it was amazing to have the stands filled and standing room only!
Kitty Cullen (Baltimore Ride): Every time we took the field it was such an honor to be surrounded by the best players in women's lacrosse. It has been such a cool experience and for me it’s been even better because I’ve gotten to share it with my best friend, STX teammate and former fellow Florida Gator Sam Farrell.
Shannon Gilroy (Long Island Sound): My favorite memory was the very first game of the season. The anticipation leading up to that game was totally worth it and the realization hit that women's lacrosse was finally going pro.
Sam Farrell (Baltimore Ride): The first time we stepped out onto the field. It was so great to see this dream of professional women's lacrosse become a reality and be a part of making history.
Who was your teams’ MVP this season?
Sloane Serpe (Long Island Sound): Devon Wills. Not only did she kill it in the cage but also killed it playing defense on the field.
Liz Hogan: I would nominate Kayla Treanor. A lot of our victories have come off the back of her ability to win draw controls!
Kitty Cullen: I would give our MVP to recent USC grad Amanda Johansen. She is one of the best and most consistent players I have ever seen and played with. She is constantly making plays and makes everyone around her better.
Shannon Gilroy: It's hard to choose one MVP from a team that's so talented. If I had to pick just one it would be Alyssa Leonard. She's unreal at the draw and always gets them at crucial times. However, our defense deserves a lot of credit and is definitely our strongest position as a team.
Sam Farrell: I would say our Team MVP is Kerry Stoothoff. Kerry is an amazing goalie and I love having a leader like her down there on the defensive end!
How has the league impacted your life and women’s lacrosse overall?
Devon Wills: It has given the game the flexibility to try out new rules, and has the following to allow the players, coaches, and fans to decide which rules they like best. The UWLX brought a lot of exposure for women’s lacrosse and the league did a great job bringing new role models to the young players who will be the future of the game!
Liz Hogan: One of the greatest things about this league is that it gives youth lacrosse players something to aspire to. I love all of the new rules and I hope the NCAA adopts them, but I really love that I've heard so many young girls say, "I want to be you when I grow up." Providing mentorship has been absolutely worth any hardships that have come with a first-year league.
Julie Gardner (Philadelphia Force): It has had a huge impact on women's lacrosse in a very short amount of time. I've had numerous people tell me how much fun it is to watch such a high level of lacrosse, and the rule changes have been very exciting for both the players and spectators.
Kitty Cullen: This season of UWLX has been a huge step in the right direction for women's lacrosse. It gives young girls a new goal to strive for because now lacrosse doesn't have to be over when college is.
Sam Farrell: The UWLX has made a huge impact in women's lacrosse. The rule changes make the game a lot more fast paced which I think is awesome for the sport. It also opens up more opportunities for women to continue playing after college!
What advice can you share for everyone who wants to try out for UWLX next year?
Sloane Serpe: Just have fun!
Devon Wills: Practice with more space. 6v6 is very different than 7v7 - both offensively and defensively!
Liz Hogan: Stay in shape and sharpen those stick skills! This game is literally the fastest game on two feet. No stoppages on whistles make a huge difference. The best teams are those that are in shape and can maintain possession for the majority of the 90 seconds.
Julie Gardner: Be creative and always compete. Go after every loose ball, play a tough and physical defense, and put up points on the board when it really counts. The UWLX allows for more flashy play – that’s what the fans want to see and it's a chance for talented players to experiment with their skill on the field.
Kitty Cullen: Stay in shape and keep your stick sharp! Be ready for a new, fast-paced fun game of lacrosse.
Shannon Gilroy: My #1 tip for players wanting to tryout next year is to have fun and enjoy the process. I know that sounds like an obvious answer but this experience is once in a lifetime. Just being at tryouts and competing against the best of the best is a privilege and an honor that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Sam Farrell: Work hard and never give up!
Want more UWLX? Click here to see just how far UWLX has come since kicking off this past year.