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Shea Dolce (Boston College) is one of four goalies on the U.S. U20 women's training roster that attended training camp at USA Lacrosse headquarters from Aug. 21-23.

U.S. U20 Women's Training Team Bonds by Squashing College Rivalries

August 23, 2023
Kenny DeJohn
John Strohsacker

SPARKS, Md. — Brigid Duffy moves across the turf at USA Lacrosse headquarters on a hot August afternoon like she’s in midseason form. That’s because she is. Just not the season we’re used to talking about around here.

The sophomore at Army is two games into her fall season as a women’s soccer midfielder. The Black Knights are 0-1-1, most recently earning a well-fought draw against Wake Forest. She’s started both contests, firing off three shots in 152 minutes.

Duffy was an unknown freshman at the onset of last spring’s lacrosse season. She didn’t have much of a fall ball because soccer occupied her time. So, when Army began making headlines, so too did Duffy. The eventual USA Lacrosse Magazine second-team All-American had 56 goals and 26 assists and parlayed her performance into a tryout with the U.S. U20 women’s lacrosse team.

On Wednesday, she finished her third day of camp with the 42-player training roster to which she was named last month.

“It was definitely a lot [last year],” she said. “I was not ready for [the attention]. But I’m so grateful for it, and credit to our team and coaches. We couldn’t have gone anywhere without all the work that we put in.”

Duffy normally is all-in on one season before shifting attention to the next. But a break in her soccer schedule allowed Duffy the opportunity to attend U20 camp, and she only had to miss a couple practices. When she left USA Lacrosse HQ on Wednesday, she said she hoped to make it back to West Point in time for the evening’s practice.

“It’s really weird going from passing a ball with my feet to having to play with a stick in my hands, but it’s fun,” Duffy said. “It’s hard, but it’s a nice little change.”

The training team went through a series of on-field workouts and off-field team building exercises starting Monday, strengthening the bonds they hope will carry them to gold in the World Lacrosse U20 Women’s Championship in Hong Kong, China, in 2024. Duffy has most enjoyed getting to know Maggie DeFabio, a sophomore midfielder at rival Navy.

Like Duffy, DeFabio excelled as a freshman playing significant time at a service academy, contributing 28 goals and nine assists for the Mids.

“She used to be one of my biggest rivals, and I didn’t really know a lot about her, and I was like, ‘I just hate Navy,’” Duffy said. “But then I started to meet her through this USA process, and we’re like best friends now. And it’s so weird. It’s like, ‘I’m going to be playing against you in one of the biggest rivalry games.’”

Army got the better of Navy in both matchups last spring, winning 15-11 on April 22 and 12-11 in the Patriot League semifinals two weeks later.

“She hates it,” Duffy said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, we sunk your ship last year.’”

Duffy will next pick up her lacrosse stick for the USA Lacrosse Fall Classic from October 13-15. It’s back to the pitch to focus on soccer, especially with Army’s first home game coming this Sunday against Auburn. Army was picked by coaches to finish second in the Patriot League.


Few freshmen impacted their teams last spring quite like Shea Dolce. The 5-10 goalie from Darien, Conn., bided her team with Boston College, backing up Rachel Hall for the season’s first six games. Starting with March 16’s game against Clemson, the starting job was Dolce’s. And she didn’t disappoint.

Dolce backstopped Boston College all the way to the national championship game, an 18-6 loss to Northwestern that was far from Dolce’s fault. Dolce compiled a 45.7-percent save percentage as a freshman, making 128 saves and allowing only 8.84 goals per game.

That, of course, put her on the radar of U20 coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, earning her a look at the U20 tryouts. She was named to the training roster and made good on that decision, stonewalling shooters during the three-day training camp this week.

“I definitely settled down and gained more confidence after that April-May stretch, and then now, I just have that confidence I need for this,” Dolce said. “It just really settled me down at the position as a whole. Now I’m able to have fun with it and play with some amazing players.”

Dolce is one of four goalies on the training team competing for what’s expected to be two spots on the final roster. Freshman Julia Suriano (Maryland) just graduated from high school at Bryn Mawr (Md.). Sophomore Francesca Argentieri (Northwestern) saw 54 minutes over 11 games for the 2023 national champion Wildcats that bested Boston College. Sophomore Jocelyn Torres (Virginia Tech) started all 19 games last season, saving 45.3 percent of shots as an ACC foe of the Eagles.

Dolce said she’s learned a considerable amount from her in-cage counterparts — and in some cases, college rivals — and has taken these three days to get to know her new teammates. She spent Tuesday night at Breakout Games in Timonium, Md., where she and her team of eight conquered an escape room in 45 minutes, 54 seconds.

But don’t think for a second this goalie was busy barking out orders like she does on the field.

“Definitely not,” Dolce said. “I kinda just go with the flow and go with whoever’s leading the charge.”


DeFabio, Duffy and Army attacker Allison Reilly are the first three service academy players to make a U.S. women’s training team, including the senior program. … Head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller thrust herself into the scrimmage action to end Wednesday’s practice, grabbing a whistle to officiate the two 15-minute periods. She even jokingly called a draw infraction on one of her Northwestern players. … With most players wearing run-of-the-mill white cleats, Ava Bleckley (James Madison) stood out with lime green and Kate Levy (North Carolina) stuck out with orange. … Of the 42 players on the training roster, 30 come from either ACC (18) or Big Ten (12) schools. … Overall, 19 college teams are represented in the player pool, with Northwestern (7), North Carolina (6) and Boston College (6) bringing the most to training camp. Maryland (3), Stanford (3), Army (2), James Madison (2) and Michigan (2) are the others to have multiple athletes. … The next time this group will get together is for the USA Lacrosse Fall Classic at USA Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Md., from October 13-15. The U.S. will play Team Canada and NCAA champion Northwestern. You can purchase tickets here.