A new era of professional lacrosse kicked off this weekend as Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse hit the field for Week 1 of their inaugural season. There have been a few iterations of the women’s pro game preceding the AU, but none quite like it.
54 of the world’s best players suited up for a version of the women’s game we have never seen before. The field is shorter (90 yards x 60 yards) with less players competing at a time (10 aside). The play is faster (60 second shot clock), there is a two-point arc, and you won’t hear any whistles blown stopping play for shooting space infractions.
These changes to play were implemented by the AU’s Leadership Council to promote exactly what we saw over the weekend, a phenomenal viewing experience. Fans were able to tune in on a number of platforms to experience the games including CBS Sports Network, FS1 and Facebook Live (including LPG’s page!).
Not only does the play on the field differ from what we’ve seen in the past, so does the make-up of the rosters and how an our eventual champion is crowned (hint: its an individual player). Each week, new teams will be selected fantasy draft style by the four players atop the Athletes Unlimited Leaderboard. At season’s end, the player with the most points based of the the AU points system will be crowned champion.
This new team-building style allows fans to follow their favorite players as they team up for new match-ups week to week. This point system in place allows for all players, no matter their position, to be in the hunt for the championship (my inner goalie is much obliged). If Week 1 is any indication of games to come, we are in for an exciting sprint of a season. Let’s take a look at how the players faired in Week 1 of AU action.
Week 1 saw Kylie Ohlmiller (Gold), Angie Benson (Orange), Meg Douty (Blue) and Katie O’Donnell (Purple) take the helm as captains.
|TEAM OHLMILLER (Gold)||TEAM BENSON (Orange)||TEAM DOUTY (Blue)||TEAM O’DONNELL (Purple)|
|Kayla Treanor – A||Marie McCool – M||Sam Apuzzo – A||Taylor Cummings – M|
|Dempy Arsenault – M||Kenzie Kent – A||Emily Garrity Parros – M||Caylee Waters – G|
|Ally Kennedy – M||Becca Block – D||Lindsey McKone – M||Cortney Fortunato – A|
|Haley Warden – M||Sydney Pirreca – M||Katrina Dowd – A||Michelle Tumolo – A|
|Kayla Wood – D||Mollie Stevens – A||Ella Simkins – M||Alyssa Parrella – M|
|Halle Majorana – A||Tianna Wallpher – D||Molly Garrett – M||Kristen Carr – D|
|Caroline Wakefield -D||Taylor VanThof – M||Lindsey Ronbeck – A||Sammy Jo Tracy – A|
|Brittany Read – G||Grace Gabriel – M||Molly Little D||Kelly McPartland – M|
|Taryn VanThof -M||Katrina Geiger – D||Haley Hicklen – G||Taylor Hensh – A|
|Kyra Pelton – D||Shayna Pirreca – A||Katie Hertsch – D||Amber McKenzie – D|
|Kathy Rudkin – D||Brit Brown – G||Izzy McMahon – A||Sarah Brown – D|
|Nicole Levy – A||Mary Kate Bonanni – D||Mira Shane – G||Holly McGarvie Reilly -D|
|Kady Glynn – G||Angie Benson – G||Meg Douty – D||Amber Hill – G|
|Kylie Ohlmiller – A||Katie O’Donnell – M|
From the first draw, Team Ohlmiller showed they were the weekend’s top team. Their success was not only reflected in the win column (3-0 overall, nine quarter victories), but on the AU Leaderboard. 14 of the top 15 players on the leaderboard dawned gold during Week 1.
Coming into the weekend, many thought that Ohlmiller’s squad had the most offensive firepower, but would they be able to gel? Yes, the answer was a resounding yes. The chemistry was immediate. Kayla Treanor (10G, 3A, 496 pts.) showed why she is, arguably, the best player in the world. Her connection with Dempsey Arsenault (4G, 5A, 463 pts.) is something that I hope we get the chance to see again this season. Their success in Week 1 finds them #2 and #3 on the AU Leaderboard respectively.
While the offense stole the show, a defender finds themselves at the top spot of the leaderboard after Week 1. Rookie Kayla Wood had a phenomenal debut on both ends of the field, tallying a goal and an assist to go with her dominant defensive performance (3 CT, 6 GB).
The only player in the top-15 not wearing gold was Taylor Cummings of Team O’Donnell. The 3x Tewaaraton winner continued to rack up the hardware, earning MVP honors in every game over the weekend. Cummings (7G, 2A, 392 pts.) continued her success at the draw circle, helping Team O’Donnell get two overall wins on the weekend.
To the surprise of no one, Marie McCool was the top performer for Team Benson. The former WPLL MVP was dominant all weekend, including scoring the league’s first-ever two point goal. With more success in the W column, I expect McCool (7G, 2A, 315 pts.) to be in contention for the AU crown all season.
Team Douty was on the wrong end of three tough losses, finishing the weekend without an overall win. The blue squad played tough despite their what their record says, losing all contests by a combined total of only 4 goals. With only receiving WIN points for three quarter victories on the weekend, the first player from Team Douty on the AU Leaderboard can be found at spot #31 (Ella Simkins).
Epoch Moments of the Week
You couldn’t have written a more perfect first goal to get the scoring started for Athletes Unlimited. Halle Majorana went behind-the-back off of the inaugural draw in game one to give Team Ohlimiller an early lead (that they would have basically all weekend).
There is a reason that Taylor Cummings is the only ever three-time Tewaaraton winner. She can do it all, including tip toeing around the crease for this ridiculous shovel goal. We are looking forward to seeing more of this from Cummings over the next four weeks.
I was so excited to see Katrina Dowd’s name on the AU roster when the signed athletes were announced in the offseason. These goals are great examples of why. The ability to fake out her defender in goal two is something else.
We had not one, but two BTBers to start games this weekend. This one coming off the stick of Sammy Jo Tracy after a nabbing a nifty GB in front of the cage.
Team Ohlmiller was clicking on all cylinders this weekend, including Kylie. She set the standard for how to draft a team going forward the rest of the season. Judges score that a 10.
Marie McCool didn’t fans wait long to see the first two-bomb in AU history. We saw the Athletes getting more comfortable taking shots beyond the arc as the weekend progressed. Look for more of these to land in top plays during future weekends.
How can you possibly even begin to defend this type of pass from Treanor? The defender is in good position, pushing forcing her away from cage. Treanor said BET. We’d also be remiss if we did mention the Dempsey Arsenault quick stick. Elite.
A goalie stands no chance when you give Treanor that much time an room in front of cage. I’m looking forward to seeing the new Cuse Head Coach pull up from range over the next four weeks. +16 points, anyone?
This had to be one of our top plays. This post is literally called the wraparound. McCool had a phenomenal Week 1 and would certainly be higher than #17 on the leaderboard had her found the win column more. Her elusive quickness and ability to go mono e mono with her defender is why she’s one of my favorite players to watch.
I can’t stop watching this goal from Michelle Tumolo. The ability to get this shot of around her defender, before the shot clock ran out is just bonkers. This one is on repeat all week. It had me saying TUMOLO-MY-GOODNESS.
Week 2 Preview
We will see four brand new captains next week. Kayla Wood (Gold), Kayla Treanor (Orange), Dempsey Arsenault (Blue), and Haley Warden (Purple) will be your captains for Week 2. All four athletes were members of Team Ohlmiller, so expect a shake-up of the leaderboard when the dust settles after next weekend.
Just outside of the top-four were two goalies, Kady Glynn and Britt Read, tied for fifth with 411 points. Defensive players accounted for nearly half of the athletes in the top-10.
You can watch the captain’s draft live Monday at 7:00 pm EST on Lacrosse Playground’s Facebook page.
Athletes Unlimited Leaderboard
|Rank||Athlete||Position||Point Total||Games Played|
|1||Kayla Wood, #45||DEF||501||3|
|2||Kayla Treanor, #21||ATT||496||3|
|3||Dempsey Arsenault, #11||MIDF||463||3|
|4||Haley Warden, #22||MIDF||411||3|
|5||Kady Glynn, #0||GOAL||411||3|
|6||Britt Read, #19||GOAL||409||3|
|7||Taylor Cummings, #27||MIDF||392||3|
|8||Halle Majorana, #37||ATT||371||3|
|9||Ally Kennedy, #42||MIDF||357||3|
|10||Caroline Wakefield, #23||DEF||353||3|
|11||Kyra Pelton, #31||DEF||351||3|
|12||Kathy Rudkin, #16||DEF||347||3|
|13||Nicole Levy, #28||ATT||343||3|
|14||Kylie Ohimiller, #71||ATT||337||3|
|15||Taryn Van Thof, #81||MIDF||335||3|
|16||Caylee Waters, #43||GOAL||331||3|
|17||Marie McCool, #40||MIDF||315||3|
|18||Kristen Carr, #83||DEF||294||3|
|19||Amber Hill, #99||GOAL||282||3|
|20||Kelly McPartland, #38||MIDF||278||3|
|21||Sarah Brown, #24||DEF||274||3|
|22||Katie O’Donnell, #9||MIDF||274||3|
|23||Holly Reilly McGarvie, #2||DEF||252||3|
|24||Sammy Jo Tracy, #13||ATT||246||3|
|25||Courtney Fortunato, #15||MIDF||246||3|
|26||Amber McKenzie, #1||DEF||242||3|
|27||Michelle Tumolo, #35||ATT||236||3|
|28||Alyssa Parrella, #47||ATT||224||3|
|29||Taylor Hensh, #20||ATT||222||3|
|30||Becca Block, #36||DEF||221||3|
|31||Ella Simkins, #26||DEF||218||3|
|32||Emily Parros, #5||MIDF||214||3|
|33||Lindsey McKone, #46||MIDF||168||3|
|34||Haley Hicklen, #54||GOAL||164||3|
|35||Izzy McMahon, #50||ATT||162||3|
|36||Meg Douty, #29||DEF||157||3|
|37||Sam Apuzzo, #14||ATT||156||3|
|38||Angie Benson, #77||GOAL||149||3|
|39||Molly Garrett, #32||MIDF||148||3|
|40||Mira Shane, #33||GOAL||143||3|
|41||Katrina Geiger, #8||DEF||141||3|
|42||Molly Little, #66||DEF||140||3|
|43||Katrina Dowd, #4||ATT||140||3|
|44||Kenzie Kent, #10||ATT||125||3|
|45||Grace Gabriel, #48||MIDF||125||3|
|46||Katie Hertsch, #25||DEF||120||3|
|47||Taylor Van Thof, #18||MIDF||113||3|
|48||Mollie Stevens, #17||MIDF||107||3|
|49||Alex Aust, #34||ATT||105||–|
|50||Mary Kate Bonanni, #39||DEF||101||3|
|51||Britt Brown, #52||GOAL||101||3|
|52||Shayne Pirreca, #41||ATT||99||3|
|53||Lindsey Ronbeck, #12||ATT||96||3|
|54||Tianna Wallpher, #3||DEF||89||3|
|55||Sydney Pirreca, #44||MIDF||79||3|
|–||Mary Claire Byrne, #60||MIDF||–||–|
Who do you think will be atop the Athletes Unlimited leaderboard after Week 2 action? Let us know in the comments or on social media.