Quaker Valley pair relishes experience at US Lacrosse National Tournament
Hundreds of the top high school girls lacrosse players traveled to Lehigh University last month for the US Lacrosse Women's National Tournament.
Two of the 20 members from the Pittsburgh team were from Quaker Valley.
Sophomores Kayla Foster and Aubrie Tarris made the cut after a strenuous seven-hour tryout earlier in the year. It was the second straight year that Tarris traveled to the national tournament so the goalkeeper knew what to expect. It was a first-time experience for Foster, though.
“It was nerve racking,” said Foster, a midfielder. “It shows you what kind of player you are. You go out there and have a positive attitude and try your best and hopefully you make it. It was tough for everyone.”
While both players made the cut, their work was just starting. Heading into the tournament the team had only one practice. Many of the players had a familiarity with each other through club lacrosse, but there was still a learning curve.
“It showed in the first game we hadn't played together,” Tarris said. “But by the second game the chemistry started to pick up.”
Pittsburgh played in Pool A of the Mohawk Division. Pittsburgh went 2-2 in its pool, defeating Nor Cal 2, 16-9, and Orange County/LA, 17-5, and falling to Washington State, 14-7, and Virginia, 11-6. In the fifth-place consolation game, Virginia defeated Pittsburgh, 10-8.
“You can really tell the different styles from each region,” Tarris said. “They have different style wether it be the way they handle the stick or shoot. Everybody is coached different so you need to expect variety.”
While the event is a good scouting tool for coaches who attend the event, it allows players to find ways to improve their skills. Both Quakers said they came out of the event with a new perspective on their strengths and weaknesses.
“Every year I come back it makes me want to work harder,” Tarris said. “I see there are people better than me, and I use it as inspiration to get better.”
The players' improvement from their experience at the tournament will be welcomed when Quaker Valley takes the field next season. The Quakers finished 8-8-1 and fell in the opening round of the WPIAL Division I playoffs to Shady Side Academy, 10-9.
Tarris and Foster agreed the team's performance in 2013 is just a preview of what the team can do.
“I think we all have high expectations,” Foster said. “We have so many returning players. Everybody is working hard to do better and take it further in the playoffs.”