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USVI Lacrosse To Send Men’s and Women’s Teams to the 2023 PALA Sixes Cup In Kingston, Jamaica

USVI Men’s Lacrosse Team will compete at the 2023 Pan-American Lacrosse Association (PALA) Sixes Cup in Jamaica. (Photo courtesy of USVI Lacrosse Association)

The U.S. Virgin Islands Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Teams will be traveling to Kingston, Jamaica, to play in the 2023 Pan-American Lacrosse Association (PALA) Sixes Cup from Nov. 9-11, the U.S. Virgin Islands Lacrosse Association announced Thursday.

Rich Carter, the executive director of the U.S. Virgin Islands Lacrosse Association, is thrilled for the inaugural USVI Women’s team and the USVI Men’s team to compete in the upcoming tournament, “I am extremely excited that both our Women’s and Men’s teams will have the opportunity to represent the Virgin Islands in what will be a fantastic event in Jamaica,” Carter said.

While the Men’s program has previously played in PALA tournaments, the event in Jamaica will be the first event for the U.S. Virgin Islands Women’s Lacrosse team, according to the press release.

The Sixes format of lacrosse that will be played over the three days is the version of the sport that the International Olympic Committee approved on Oct. 16 for lacrosse’s inclusion in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the press release stated.

“Sixes is a fast-paced version of the sport played on a smaller field (70 x 36 meters), with fewer players (6 v 6), a condensed game length (four 8-minute quarters) and a 30-second shot clock,” according to the USA Lacrosse website.

This will be the second edition of the PALA Sixes Cup after the first tournament took place in Auburndale, Florida, in 2021, the release stated.

Lacrosse in the Caribbean is on the rise as Jamaica placed 8th in the 2023 World Lacrosse Championships and Puerto Rico finished 10th this summer, according to the release.

The USVI Men will open the tournament against Jamaica at 11 a.m. EST (12 p.m. AST) before playing Puerto Rico at 8:30 a.m. EST (9:30 AST) and Mexico at 1:30 p.m. EST
(2:30 p.m. AST) on Friday, it said.

The USVI Women’s Team will start their tournament against Jamaica at 9:45 a.m. EST (10:45 a.m. AST) on Thursday before playing Haudenosaunee at 4 p.m. EST (5 p.m. AST) later in the day. They conclude group play against Peru at 9:45 a.m. EST (10:45 a.m. AST) on Friday, according to the release.

Results of the first three games will determine the schedule for the remainder of the tournament. Games will be streamed at plus.nlse.com

The Men’s team will be led by Head Coach Jojo Marasco, while the women’s team looks to Kim Russell as their head coach. The Men’s assistant coach will be Ryan Meade and the Women’s assistant coaches are Tiffany Holt Moore and Destinee Johnson. Additional staff for both teams include team doctor Keith Robinson and Strength and Conditioning Coach Micah Kurtz, the release stated.

The roster for the Men’s team will be led by Captains Mike Murray, Tyler Peworchik and Ben Duhoski. Other players on the roster include Teddy Bettencourt, Jake Walter, Gavin Jones, Miller Barbour, Scott Hutchens, Matt Williams, Kyle Murphy, Victor Hall, Bryce Phillips, Blake Runkle, Andy Sjolander and Pedro Alvardo, according to the release.

Marasco said that the team has been working hard all summer and fall to get ready for this tournament and that “This is a great group of men who continue to grow the sport of lacrosse around the world and especially in the U.S. Virgin Islands. As the head coach I’m extremely excited to get back to coaching these men on the field and have the opportunity to grow the sport and the game with this event in Jamaica.”

“We have a talented team that is going to surprise a lot of other teams,” he added.

“We are super excited by the opportunity to play in PALA Sixes Cup, especially on the news that Lacrosse will be in the 2028 Olympic Games. I think we have put together a strong team and expect to compete,” Duhoski said.

The women’s team roster includes players Haley Olive, Danielle Notto, Maddie Russell, C.J. Hobbs, Talia Coryat, Anysia Hutchens, Anjali Coryat, Kiera Baker, Jennie Jones, Amanada Jones, Sam Powers, Tiffany Holt Moore and Destinee Johnson, the release stated.

Russell said, “Every single one of our athletes and coaches are competitors. This will be an incredible learning experience for all of us and we are excited to compete!”

She noted that this is a major step for the Women’s National Team program and “we are all incredibly excited to have this opportunity to compete at PALA Sixes. It means even more that our first competition is Sixes format with the recent announcement of Sixes lacrosse making its debut in the 2028 Olympics.”

Russell added that this tournament would be an opportunity for the players to get to know each other on the field and get familiar with the Sixes format.

Men’s team leader Peworchik’s duties are not limited to being just player and captain as he is also the team’s general manager. Peworchik says that it has been an honor and privilege to help put together the roster and “the men and women that we have representing the USVI in these programs are exactly the caliber of athlete and individual that we want representing and laying the foundation for the USVI Lacrosse Olympic program.”

He was also extremely proud of the coaching staff that both the Men’s and Women’s teams have been able to put together.  “ In addition to the rosters that we were able to put together, we were able to bring in two nationally recognized coaches in the lacrosse community, Jojo Marasco and Kim Russell. Having them lead our programs immediately gives credibility and respect to both our programs that is undeniable,” Peworchik said.

Peworchik wanted to recognize H.H. Tire and Battery for their sponsorship and contributions to the USVI Lacrosse Program and said, “They are a company that has been involved within the St Croix and the Virgin Islands community for several years. They’ve been involved with the USVI Lacrosse Association program from day one through sponsorships, donations, and allocations of their time. H.H. Tire and Battery continues to provide these resources  not just for our men’s and women’s national teams, but even more importantly, the development of youth lacrosse throughout all three islands.”

 

 

 

 

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