Simons Tortolani has been co-coach of the Mawrtians for nine years with Wendy Kridel, who coached the U.S. Under-19 team to three world titles between 1999 and 2007. For the past eight years, the Mawrtians have been ranked in the nation's Top 50 and finished in the Top 10 three times.
Before that, Simons Tortolani coached the Georgetown women to seven NCAA tournament appearances in nine seasons, including three times to the Final Four. She was NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year in 2001.
"I'm at a stage in my coaching career where I've coached college and I've coached high school now for quite some time, and I'm excited and ready for a new challenge and a new opportunity," said Simons Tortolani. "I've gotten involved with US Lacrosse recently with some other things, and then there's also, obviously, Wendy's connection with her past U-19 experience. I've heard about it from her as well. It was just one of those things where I thought I was ready for a new challenge."
Simons Tortolani is the third coach from the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland to lead the U.S. U-19 team. She takes over from John Carroll’s Krystin Porcella, who guided the last U.S. team to the gold medal in Hanover, Germany in 2011.
Neither Porcella nor Kridel lost a game in world championship competition. The only U.S. loss on the U-19 women’s level came in the title game of the inaugural world event, 5-4 to Australia, in 1995 in Haverford, Pa.
Coaching side-by-side with Kridel at Bryn Mawr and hearing about the U-19 experience piqued Simons Tortolani's interest in coaching on the international level.
Kridel "definitely encouraged me to do it. I think living through her experience, that it was a real positive for her, was encouragement for me. I'm certain I'm going to be leaning on her and all her experience to prepare for things like tryouts, international play and international competition and international travel with a team and all the things that go along with that. She's certainly had a lot of experience with that."
A member of the US Lacrosse Potomac Chapter Hall of Fame, Simons Tortolani was an All-America player at Princeton, where she captained the Tigers' 1994 NCAA championship team.
Simons Tortolani said she is in the process of selecting assistant coaches and that tryouts will begin in the spring. Information about tryouts is available on the US Lacrosse website.