Dreams a Reality at Opening Day of USA Lacrosse Youth Nationals

PHOTO BY KEVIN P. TUCKER

A record 90 teams are competing at the 2022 USA Lacrosse Youth Nationals. The playoff rounds begin on Wednesday morning.


FREDERICA, Del. — When the sun is blazing and you’re tired, sometimes it can be hard to make your dreams seem real. But for the more than 1,500 athletes competing in the USA Lacrosse Youth Nationals, all they had to do was look over and see their dream in real time.

On Saturday, Ally Mastroianni won a gold medal with the U.S. women’s national team, capping a whirlwind six weeks in which she also won a national championship with North Carolina and was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award.

On Tuesday, she spent nearly two hours signing autographs and posing for pictures with a perpetual smile on her face. It wasn’t all that long ago that she was in the shoes of the players that were thrilled to meet her.

“It’s pretty cool, it’s come full circle,” said Mastroianni who played club with STEPS Lacrosse out of New Jersey. “It feels like yesterday I was at these tournaments eating Italian ice before games and nagging my parents to buy cool t-shirts. It’s pretty cool to be here and see all these little girls and show them the gold medal and give them something to dream towards.”

 A record 90 girls’ club teams are competing in this year’s event at the DE Turf Sports Complex. They come from a dozen states and represent some of the best programs in the country. Mastroianni’s USA teammates — Sam Apuzzo and Alice Mercer — both won championships at this very tournament in their club days with the Long Island Top Guns and CheckHers Elite, respectively.

The national scope provides a measuring stick for so many programs.

The Lacrosse Monkey program is based out of Minnesota and they had a direct conversation with their parent groups before coming East for tournaments.

“You have to come out here and get beat and see what it’s like and know who’s ready to play at that level and who wants to play at that level,” said Brett Deering, one of the program’s coaches.

And that was true for its youngest team competing in the 13U bracket, but it’s 14U team gutted out a tough 5-3 victory over DEWLAX to complete a 3-0 record in its pool and earn a trip to the playoff round on Wednesday.

“It’s awesome,” Deering said. “This is unbelievable – it’s all could I ask for with a small roster – have them come together and step up. All these tournaments it’s a one or two error game. With these high-level teams, it’s whoever has the least amount of errors, it really is.”

Wednesday’s playoff round features quarterfinals in the 13U, 14U and 15U age groupings. The championship games of the 14U (1:30 pm) and 15U (3 pm) age brackets will be streamed live on Lax Sports Network.







Wednesday’s Quarterfinals

13U
8 am: Hero’s Lax 2027 Green vs. STEPS Elite NJ 2027 Blue
8 am: Prime Time 2027 vs. PRIDE 2027 Red
8 am: Yellow Jackets Stadler vs. Yellow Jackets Gaghan
8 am: Aces Elite 2027 vs. STEPS Elite NJ 2027 White

Semifinals at 10 am, championship game at 12 noon

14U

9 am: Yellow Jackets Manning vs. Lacrosse Monkey
9 am: Yellow Jackets Torre vs. CLC 2026 Pride
9 am: LI Jesters 2026 Black vs. STEPS California 2026
9 am: Aces Elite 2026 vs. Long Island Top Guns Black

Semifinals at 11 am, championship game at 1:30 pm

15U

10 am: Yellow Jackets Spallina vs. STEPS Elite NJ 2025 Carolina
10 am: Prime Time 2025 vs. STEPS California 2025
10 am: Yellow Jackets Janelli vs. Long Island Top Guns
10 am: STEPS Elite NJ 2025 Navy vs. Monster Elite

Semifinals at 12 noon, championship game at 3 pm

Click here for the results and full playoff and consolation schedule.

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