Princeton Teammates Sears, Donovan Shine for USA Women at Super Sixes

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI

Kyla Sears finished the World Lacrosse Super Sixes weekend with seven goals and four assists in three games.


BOX SCORES

SPARKS, Md. — This time last year, Kyla Sears and Marge Donovan were separated by more than 2,000 miles. Sears was based in Utah and working remotely for a strategic communications firm. Donovan was in her home state of Maryland, learning about lacrosse sticks in a whole new light as a mechanical engineering intern with a focus on prototype testing at STX in Baltimore — not far from her hometown of Catonsville.

Two of the 19 players on the Princeton women’s lacrosse team who took leave from the university, opting out of the 2021 season due to the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sears and Donovan’s last collegiate game was an 18-12 loss at Stony Brook on March 8, 2020.

This weekend they played as if they were making up for lost time. The Princeton pair combined for seven points in the U.S.’s 14-11 win over Canada in its final game at the World Lacrosse Super Sixes event Sunday — 595 days after that loss to Stony Brook. The victory avenged the team’s only loss of day one and improved its record to 3-1.

“I love looking at the other end and seeing her there just like at school,” Sears said of playing with Donovan on the U.S. Sixes team. “It’s just so great.”







As in the U.S.’s 18-7 win over the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to start Sunday’s games, the performance was defined by a balanced attack and timely defense. Nine different players scored in each game. Rachel Hall made 12 saves in the earlier win.

A natural defender, Donovan helped organize the team’s structure from her spot down low. She was the first look on many outlet passes from Madison Doucette (12 saves) and showed her potential in transition — scoring a goal in the first quarter, then assisting a Sam Swart goal on the next possession. She also had a better familiarity than most when Caitlyn Wurzburger broke her shaft in half with a crosscheck.

“We actually have a machine that tests the break strength of women’s sticks,” Donovan said of STX. “I know that sound all too well.”

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI

Marge Donovan learned about lacrosse sticks in a whole new light as a mechanical engineering intern with a focus on prototype testing at STX in Baltimore.

Despite a late run from Canada, the U.S. didn’t break. Sears looked dynamic in open space all weekend and opened the U.S. scoring in the second half with a breakaway goal off a Belle Smith assist. Her second of the afternoon with 2:28 to play in the fourth quarter helped seal the win.

Sears finished the weekend with seven goals and four assists in three games.

The “attitude of gratitude” she described as the Princeton women lacrosse team’s outlook this fall applied also to their experience on the U.S. team. After yesterday’s win over the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Sears and Donovan recorded a 10-second Instagram story on the U.S. women’s national team account.

This afternoon, they wanted something more lasting. After taking a few steps into tunnel, they turned around and asked teammate Kelsey Huff if she could take a picture of them together on the turf of Tierney.

Reunited as teammates, again, they could hardly contain their smiles posing for it.

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI

Ryan Conrad, who scored the winning goal for the U.S. U19 team in the 2016 final, was back in red, white and blue at World Lacrosse Super Sixes.

CONRAD REPRISES STARRING ROLE

The ending to Ryan Conrad’s last experience with the U.S. team was something out of a storybook. He scored the game-winning goal with eight seconds left to lift the U.S. U19 team to a comeback win over Canada in the 2016 U19 world championship final in Vancouver.

Conrad was a standout performer again during the U.S. Sixes squad’s split result against Canada this weekend. The U.S. dropped its second meeting with Canada 18-12 on Sunday to finish the weekend with a 3-1 record. Conrad registered two goals in the loss, which also included a hat trick from Connor Kirst.

Conrad tallied seven goals, including a team-high five in the U.S.’s 18-17 win over Canada on Saturday. A three-sport high school athlete at nearby Loyola Blakefield who won an NCAA championship at Virginia his senior year, Conrad’s athleticism and versatility seems a perfect fit in the Sixes discipline.

“Ryan is a throwback,” Waterdogs coach Andy Copelan said. “He can do it all and that is basically what we asked of him this summer — to do a bit of everything.”

“The endurance is so similar to basketball and I think that suits my game pretty well,” said Conrad, who noted he prides himself on staying on the field as much as possible. “The flow of the game is just so fast that it comes down to who could stay composed in that hecticness, which is really fun.”

Conrad took faceoffs to start quarters and looked comfortable on both ends of the field and in transition. He even warmed up goalie Jack Kelly at halftime of the U.S.’s first game of day two against the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

“This is the ultimate stage you want to get to, representing your country,” Conrad said. “Having that taste [playing for the U.S.] made me want it again. It’s hard to have that feeling of accomplishment and respect for the game and respect for the country if you’re not experiencing this.”

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI

Justin Guterding credited playing midfield for the PLL’s Whipsnakes following a midseason trade for his aptitude in the World Lacrosse Sixes format.

GUTERDING’S WAKE-UP CALL

Justin Guterding isn’t sure how much he slept last night. It didn’t seem to hinder his play. A day after losing the clip to his Whoop band, which tracks metrics for one’s recovery, the prolific scorer woke up everyone in the stands at Tierney Field Sunday morning.

Guterding scored six goals in the U.S. men’s first game of day two at Super Sixes against the Haudenosaunee. Many rattled the cage as they hit the net.

“Everyone played really well,” Guterding said after the 22-15 win. “The opportunities were just there for me. When you have those shots, especially with no big sticks out there like [there are] in field, you kind of feel like you’re wide open.”

The feeling was a likely a common one for the U.S., which put up its highest scoring total of the event. Kevin Rogers also tallied six goals. Patrick Resch and Justin Anderson each notched hat tricks. Ryder Garnsey continued to show a flair for the dramatic on his two goals.

“They did a really good job picking this team and putting guys together who were capable of dodging short sticks all the time, finish inside and hit shots from range,” said Guterding, who also tallied five goals and four assists in two wins Saturday.

Guterding credited his comfort level in the Sixes discipline in part to his experience over the second half of the summer playing for the Whipsnakes in the Premier Lacrosse League. A natural lefty attackman who set the NCAA goals record at Duke before Mac O’Keefe broke it this year, Guterding bumped up to the midfield after being traded by the Chrome and enjoyed getting short-stick matchups after fellow Duke and U.S. Sixes teammate Brad Smith (three assists) drew the pole. Guterding excelled running out of the box, scoring eight goals in five games during the Whipsnakes’ run to a third straight PLL championship game.

When it came to playing defense for the first time in a while this weekend, Guterding highlighted the efforts of Resch and Marc Glicini, teammates on the PLL champion Chaos, for communicating and helping the traditionally offensive-minded players adjust to other side of the ball. 

Guterding did not need any metrics to gauge his effort after he and his teammates lit up the scoreboard.

“I’m tired now,” he said.

WORLD LACROSSE SUPER SIXES
RESULTS

Saturday, Oct. 23
Canada 20, Haudenosaunee 13 (W)
Canada 17, Haudenosaunee 16 (OT) (M)
Canada 17, USA 14 (W)
USA 18, Canada 17 (M)
USA 19, Haudenosaunee 9 (W)
USA 16, Haudenosaunee 11 (M)

Sunday, Oct. 24
USA 18, Haudenosaunee 7 (W)
USA 22, Haudenosaunee 15 (M)
Canada 24, Haudenosaunee 6 (W)
Canada 15, Haudenosaunee 14 (M)
USA 14, Canada 11 (W)
Canada 18, USA 12 (M)

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