Section VI girls lacrosse is gradually growing at the high school level, and it's trickled into higher levels in the area in recent years. In England this week, all levels of area girls lacrosse will be well represented at the 2017 FIL Rathbone's Women's World Cup, which kicks off Wednesday at the University of Surrey.
At the coaching level, Canisius head coach Scott Teeter will coach Team Canada and Niagara head coach Wendy Stone will manage Team USA. Below them will be a bevy of players with connections to the area. Alice Mercer, a Niagara assistant coach, is one of the top defenders for Team USA. Mercer was a 2016 Tewaaraton Finalist at Maryland, where she received first-team All-American honors as a senior.
Team Canada's group of area talent is highlighted by Kaylin Morissette, a Canisius College assistant who played at Louisville. In goal for the Canadians will be Allison Daley, a former Canisius College goalie and assistant coach. Erica Evans, who will feature in Canada's midfield, was the MAAC Midfielder of the Year for Canisius as a sophomore in 2016. Rounding out Canada's top group from the area is Allie Jimerson, a Lake Shore graduate who currently plays at Syracuse after transferring from Albany.
"It’s really exciting to see for the Section VI local colleges, our players that are coming through those programs to get to compete at the world stage," Teeter said. "If you look at the Section VI, who we have, you got Erica Evans ... she’s one of our top midfielders. A Syracuse player in Allie Jimerson, that’s a Section VI product right there. She’s one of our starters and we’re gonna key on her to help score some big goals for us. It’s great seeing players like that."
Tessa Chad, a rising junior at Canisius College, and Tory Quinn, a Canisius College graduate and former Golden Griffins assistant, are both alternates for Team Canada.
The Americans are favorites - Teeter said his goal is to upset the U.S. in the gold medal game - and it'll likely be up to Mercer to stop some of Canada's area talent in order to win it all as is expected.
"It’s wonderful to have that quality of player," Stone said. "People see that in town and they’re coaching our young kids and our young kids see their stick work and they want to emulate that ... we’ve never had that quality and caliber of player here regularly."
There are also three current or former Section VI high school standouts who will play for the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) National Team, Lake Shore rising senior Jalyn Jimerson, Lake Shore graduate Jenna Haring and Niagara-Wheatfield graduate Amber Hill-Donhauser.
Team USA plays Scotland in its first game on Thursday at 3 p.m. England time (11 a.m. here). Team Canada kicks off its action at 6 p.m. England time against Australia, while the Haudenosaunee National Team plays at 5 p.m. England time against South Korea. Round-robin play lasts from July 12-18. Playoffs follow, with the likely Canada-U.S. gold medal game coming July 22 at 3 p.m. England time.
"We’re really lucky," said USA Lacrosse's Beth Stone, who coaches the Nichols School. "If you think about Western New York and our lacrosse, it’s really pretty phenomenal to have that many people involved in the international level."