Team Freedom’s Anna Salemo did her best to be a one-woman wrecking crew, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Spirit’s offense and U.S. U19 national team goalie Kelsey Duryea. Duryea’s seven second-half saves helped Spirit beat Freedom 22-16.
Salemo, a graduate of Heritage (Colo.) High School headed to Stanford, scored a game-high six goals, and Freedom trailed just 11-10 at the half after a goal by Kyle Fraser with one second remaining, but Spirit took command in the second half. Fraser, who had three goals and two assists, is also headed to Stanford.
Spirit scored three goals in the first 90 seconds of the second half with Alexandra Crerend and Lucy Dikeou doing the damage. Crerend scored two of the goals and Dikeou had the other and assisted Crerend’s second goal. That three-goal spurt gave Spirit a 14-10 lead and Freedom never got closer than three goals the rest of the way.
Northwestern recruit Casey Bocklet and Virginia-bound Sloan Warren each had four goals to lead Spirit while Crerend (Brown) and Emily Doyle (Richmond) each added three goals.
This event features many of the nation’s top players, but with players competing from 26 states, it provides a unique look at the state of lacrosse around the country. One of the players excited about the opportunity was Spirit’s Maggie HerrNeckar, a recent graduate of Brighton (Utah) High School headed to Westminster’s strong club program.
“It’s just an honor to be here,” said HerrNeckar, who had a goal in the victory. “I’m from Utah, not the hotbed of lacrosse. So being here with all of these great players is unbelievable.”
HerrNeckar has seen plenty of this level of play. Her club team from Utah has made several trips to the East Coast for tournaments and she was invited to try out for the U19 team last summer. She’s going to participate in the Army ROTC program at Westminster, but still harbors hopes of playing lacrosse at a higher level down the road. A tournament like this is a chance to keep getting better.
“If I’m a sub on the sideline, I’m always watching where these girls are moving on the field and try to learn from them and learn from my coaches and just try to soak everything in,” said HerrNeckar. “These girls are amazing, so it’s hard to take everything in, but I do my best.”
This event also lets a lot of college-bound players get back on the field after a summer that’s different than what they’ve seen going through the recruiting process.