TOWSON, Md. – The 11th World Lacrosse Women’s World Championships held its opening ceremony on Wednesday in Towson, Maryland.
Among the nations competing is the Haudenosaunee Nationals, which consists of six nations, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora, which have united to form a Confederation. The Haudenosaunee Nationals are the only local sports team in the world in international competitions and include Gouanda High School graduate Mia Scanlan and lacrosse coach for girls Lottie Gill, both of whom will take to the field today at 2pm against Japan on ESPN Plus.
“That means everything” Gil spoke about the representation of the Haudenosaunee Nationals. “When I go out on this field for training or games, I play for all those kids who didn’t have a chance to play. The game is bigger than me, you think of these children from schools and in mass graves. I mean them. ”
Lacrosse is a local game and Haudenosaunee Nationals players act as ambassadors of their game, carrying the original message of friendship, healing and peace to other nations around the world. The opening ceremonies focused on Haudenosaunee and what they mean for the game of lacrosse.
“The opening ceremonies today were great,” added Gil. “It was positive and a lot of energy. They focus on Haudenosaunee and the Creator’s game. ”
Haudenosaunee members range from athletes who still compete in high school to athletes not from each team, but training individually to make the national team.
Gil is from the last group, 33 years old. She is quite distant from her days as an athlete in college, which makes her journey to worlds unique and difficult.
“This whole experience was surreal to me because I’m on the older end,” Said Gil. “Many of my teammates are either currently in college or graduated a few years ago. I definitely worked hard and had to train alone. In that respect, it was just surreal. “
Gil, a defender, fights and fights his way to the team for his first trip to the World Games. Unlike most of her teammates, she doesn’t even play lacrosse in college, but rather plays basketball at Niagara County Community College.
“In college, I actually played basketball, not lacrosse.” added Gil. “Part of my quest is to prove that I can play at a high level. I attribute it to my husband Justin, he was a huge support system for me and did a lot of my training with me. ”
Gil has not been completely removed from the game, now in his second year as coach of the lacrosse team for girls at Gowanda High School.
“I always tell girls to dream big” Gil said what he told the Gowanda athletes. “Every athlete in every sport, if you make an effort, you can do anything and I’m proof of that now.”
Of all the athletes Gil trains at Gowanda, the dreams that come true with Gil are those of Jacksonville University freshman Mia Scanlan. In Gill’s first year as Gouanda’s coach, Scanlan helped lead the program to the first Section D title in Section VI.
“Mia is a great child” Said Gil. “She is so incredibly talented. Her natural talent is crazy, and her IQ in lacrosse is incredible. ”
Scanlan, a freshman in attack at Jacksonville University, scored 15 goals and four assists for 19 points in 18 games after the Dolphins won their fifth consecutive title in the Atlantic Sun tournament. In the NCAA tournament, Scanlan smashed SportsCenter’s top 10 with a goal behind him in a 20-8 victory over Stanford. Now Scanlan will get his chance to show his talent on the world stage and can be watched on ESPN Plus in the group stage of the tournament.
“She’s been through so much growth in Jacksonville.” added Gil. “I’m very excited to play with her, she’s definitely someone you want on your team.”
While Scanlan is looking to score goals, Gil will be at the other end of the field fighting to prevent them.
“We open a game of billiards against Japan today,” Said Gil. “I have an attitude that I want to be a breaking ball, to fight for these balls and to do everything that the coach likes us to do.
Gil and Scanlan are not the only Section VI lacrosse alumni to represent the Haudenosaunee nationals, as they are joined by Beretta Santana, Ivy Santana, Jalin Jimerson, Cassandra Maynard, Lois Garlow and Jenna Haring. Beretta Santana, Ivy Santana, Jimerson and Haring played for Lake Shore before continuing to play at a collegiate level.
Jimerson is in the spotlight for the Haudenosaunee Nationals, playing in his second World Cup. The star from the University of Syracuse made his debut in 2017 with 11 goals and seven assists, and then at the U19 World Cup in 2019 she scored 26 goals and made 13 assists in eight games to finish fourth in goal in tournament.