The New England Command may have upset the undefeated, top-seeded Baltimore Brave 12-11 on Saturday to claim the first-ever championship title in the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League — but that doesn’t mean the row of athletes celebrating wasn’t rich with Maryland connections.
The victory itself was spawned by the actions of three Chesapeake-area players. Tied with 19.5 seconds left, New England forced a turnover to take possession into the last dregs of the game. Carroll County native Amber McKenzie (nee Falcone) and Loyola grad Taryn Van Thof combined to deliver a pass to attacker and Navy lacrosse assistant coach Aly Messinger for the game-winner.
Nine other New England players have Maryland ties:
- Attacker Taylor Hensh and defender Megan Douty are both former Terps.
- Defender Bailey Mathis is another Greyhound.
- Midfielder Gabby Capuzzi is an assistant coach for Navy women’s lacrosse.
- Midfielder Caroline Margolis, a Boston College grad, played for the Baltimore Ride in the United Women’s Lacrosse League last year. Her father, Bob Bailor, played professionally and in the farm system for the Orioles.
- Anna Kim, a midfielder, earned All-Howard County girls lacrosse honors while at River Hill.
- Penn State alumna Steph Lazo hails from Silver Spring and played for St. Mary’s as a high schooler.
- Before Princeton, Sarah Lloyd led Severna Park to a seventh overall national ranking over three years and was dubbed an All-American by Under Armour and US Lacrosse. Her father also played lacrosse for Maryland.
- Defender Katie Hertsch, while at Winters Mill, was named three times to the All-Carroll County first team.
Of course, there was plenty of the Chesapeake Bay to go around.
The Baltimore side, which cruised through the four-game regular season without a loss, is undeniably caked with Old Line State representation with five Towson, four Maryland and one Navy alumnae in the 25-woman team. Two Maryland natives also line the Braves roster.
Even the league’s founder, Michele DeJuliis, is a Baltimore native, the 1992 Metro Player of the Year, a member of National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and a former Baltimore City police officer.
“It’s been a culmination of everybody putting their best foot forward throughout the season,” DeJuliis told US Lacrosse Magazine. “Every weekend we come out we try to make it an amazing experience for the women.”