January 21, 2013

Team USA Women Look for Options on the Draw

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | Related: USA Roster

Former Vanderbilt midfielder Ally Carey is one of several candidates to take draws for Team USA at the 2013 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's World Cup.
© JC Pinheiro

With 25 players competing for 18 spots, competition to make the final U.S. roster for the 2013 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's World Cup is stiff.

Players need to show the coaches that they bring something to the team no one else in the country can. While the nine veterans of the 2009 world championship team aren't guaranteed spots, they are known quantities.

And for newcomers looking to make an impression, one of the best opportunities is at the draw.

Team USA's two draw specialists from the 2009 squad, Kristen Kjellman and Acacia Walker, retired, leaving room on the roster for players who can deliver possessions off the starting whistle.

"Australia and Canada have players who can draw well, and we need to neutralize them," U.S. coach Ricky Fried said.

The top candidates for the job are midfielders Sarah Albrecht (Northwestern), Ally Carey (Vanderbilt), and Kristen Carr (North Carolina) and attacker Shannon Smith (Northwestern).

Carr is the Tar Heels' all-time draw controls leader with 174; Carey is the Commodores' all-time leader in both ground balls (166) and draw controls (263).

Albrecht and Smith are both in Northwestern's top 10 for career draw controls. They will face their former team when the U.S. plays the defending national champion Wildcats at Champion Challenge on Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

With so much depth in the midfield, a player who can draw to self isn't necessarily the solution for Team USA. It's more about the long ball, the specialist who can deliver the draw to open space near the circle for speedy wingers to snag.

"We have a lot of trust in our teammates," Carr said, "so we know if we draw it outside the circle, they're going to come up with it. That starts a fast break if you can draw to your end, or even to your attacking restraining line. You're already a man up basically."

Carr loves the game-within-a-game aspect of the draw.

"There's a lot more that goes into the draw than some people may think," she said. "It's strategy. We have a lot and people on the circle who are really gritty."

The Team USA women take on defending champion Northwestern at 11 a.m. ET Sunday (ESPN3.com/LaxMagazine.com live blog) and national runner-up Syracuse at 7 p.m. ET Saturday as part of Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event. The USA men play defending champion Loyola at 1:30 p.m. ET Sunday. For more information, visit www.uslacrosse.org/ChampionChallenge.

A version of this article appears in the January issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

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