PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Game 1: Command, Katie Hertsch: The 2018 WPLL All-Star wins Player of the Game for Week 1 after her stellar performance on defense. Hertsch limited the Fire's scoring opportunities while also forcing some momentum-shifting turnovers.
Game 2: Fight, Kelsey Gregerson: Gregerson was impressive in week one, holding a talent Pride attack to just 4 goals while making 8 saves.
In their much anticipated return to the field, 2018 WPLL Champions the Command kicked off the 2019 season with an 11-8 victory over WPLL Fire at Gillette Stadium. Midfielder and Massachusetts native Kristin Igoe led the way for the Command, tallying 3G, 1A, and 4CTO in the victory. The Fire were led by midfielder Kelyn Freedman, who tallied a career best 3G in the victory.
In the first quarter the Fire came out hot, quickly earning a 2-0 lead behind goals from Freedman and attacker Hannah Power. But this would prove to be the Fire’s only lead of the day, as the Command answered back with goals from Katie O’Donnell (Casey Pearsall assist), a crafty Tanner Guarino coming in for a FPS, and Taylor Hensh (assist Igoe).
The Command scored 4 more in the second quarter, with Igoe, Hensh, and O’Donnell scoring unassisted goals and 2018 leading scorer Kara Mupo putting in a free possession shot for her first goal of the WPLL season. The Fire would not be held scoreless though, as defender Courtney Waite used her speed to weave through several Command players and cross over half field. Waite found an open Haley Schweizer, who quickly dished it off to former Johns Hopkins teammate Shannon Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald faked out Command keeper Bridget Bianco and scored her first goal of the 2019 season.
Down 7-4 entering the second half, the Fire were never able to overcome their first-half performance. Though the momentum had clearly shifted their way in quarters three and four, Command keepers Bridget Bianco and Emily Leitner came up with big stops, preventing the Fire from ever taking over the lead. Just like in the first half Freedman kicked off scoring, losing her defender cutting towards the net and burying a hard shot (assist to Michelle Tumolo). Igoe answered back with her second of the day, followed by Mupo, who scored off of a beautiful feed from Kayla O’Connor. Fire midfielder Katie Haus closed out Q3 scoring, launching a shot past Leitner making the score 9-6. In Q4 Hazar, Powers, Sheila Nesselbush (assist Schweizer) and Igoe scored, but the Fire were unable to overtake the Command due in part to stellar play by the Command’s defensive unit of Megan Douty, Katie Hertsch, and Bailey Mathis. Douty and Hertsch teamed up to limit Fire attacker Michelle Tumolo to just two assist and zero goals on the day. The Command improve to 1-0 on the season while the Fire fall to 0-1.
Fight Attacker Katrina Dowd
The Fight earned their first win of the season with a 6-4 victory over the Pride. It was the Fight’s first victory over the Pride, avenging their tough 10-9 loss last season. In a low-scoring defensive battle, attacker Katrina Dowd came up big in her first game for the Fight, scoring the first goal of the game then tallying an assist after setting up Fight teammate Kayla Treanor. 2018 WPLL All-Stars Kylie Ohlmiller and Taylor Cummings connected for the third goal of the game, with Ohlmiller coming from behind cage and feeding Cummings, who sent a shot past Pride keeper Molly Wolf. Pride attacker Shelby Fredericks closed out first half scoring when she buried a buzzer beater, making the score 3-1.
Fight attacker Zoë Stukenberg kicked off second half scoring when Treanor dished her FPS off, earning the assist. With the Fight up 4-1 Shayna Pirreca replied and scored her first goal of the season, cutting the Fight lead to 2. Cummings followed up, finding an open Kylie Ohlmiller who scored her first goal of the 2019 season. Pride attacker Alex Aust responded, bringing the score to 5-3.
Down two to start the fourth quarter, Pride attacker Halle Majorana buried a low-angle shot and cut the Pride lead to 1. With the pressure on, the Fight called a timeout to regroup. After the break a play emerged for 2019 Florida graduate Lindsey Ronbeck, who converted her first goal as a pro, putting the Pride up by 2 once again. Ronbeck's goal provided the Fight extra security. With time winding down, the Fight were able to defend the 8 meter arc, preventing the Pride from launching a 2pt goal to force overtime. With the victory the Fight improve to 1-0 while the Pride fall to 0-1. Pride keepers Molly Wolf (5 saves) and Liz Hogan (6 saves) both were impressive in net. Fight keeper Kelsey Gregerson was named player of the game with 8 saves.
About the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League
Founded in 2017 by 4x All-American, and two-time World Champion Michele DeJuliis, the WPLL is a professional league made up of 125 of the top post-collegiate female lacrosse players in the world and a youth development league connecting with the top high school players in the country. For both our professional and our youth players, the WPLL prioritizes character development as a means to excel in life on and off the field. The WPLL uses lacrosse as a vehicle to provide girls with skills that allow them to not only become better athletes, but also grow into confident and brave women. Thanks to a partnership with ESPN, in 2019 fans can tune in to all regular season WPLL games on ESPN3 and the Championship on ESPNU. For more information, visit prowomenslax.com, and follow on social media:
ESPN media contact: Anna Negron at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-766-2233; @ItsAnnaNegron
WPLL Media Contact: Sam Jaffe at email@example.com