In the aftermath of the inaugural United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX) Draft, the names Liz Hogan, Katie Schwarzmann, Michelle Tumolo and Devon Wills are now aligned with league history. Representing the first round draft picks selected, their impact not only for lacrosse in America, but women’s sport, is not only poised to grow, but their talents and skills will contribute to the current mythologies, their bravura helping to shape a future of upward progression.
The Boston Storm would select goaltender Hogan with their first pick overall. Dartmouth alum Wills would become the Long Island Sound’s first-ever draft pick, the second of two goaltenders claimed in the first round. Focusing on offense in the first round was the Philadelphia Force, acquiring Michelle Tumolo, while the Baltimore Ride, poised to become a rival for Philadelphia, opted for midfielder Katie Schwarzmann as their top pick in the 2016 UWLX Draft.
With each team allocated ten draft picks, there was no shortage of elite talent to choose from. One unique aspect concerning the draft class was the talent selected from the University of Maryland Terrapins lacrosse program. Of note, an impressive eight Terrapins were selected in the draft.
Based on the picks by positions, each employed their own unique strategy. Boston would draft one goaltender, two defenders, highlighted by Jenn Russell going in the second round, a pair of attackers, and five midfielders. In comparison, Baltimore would not opt to draft a goaltender, the only team to do so; they would grab four attackers, including Alex Aust in the second round, three defenders and three midfielders. As a side note, part of the Ride’s draft class included Dana Dobbie, a member of the Canadian national women’s lacrosse team who also serves as an assistant coach for Loyola University’s team.
A mix of three attackers, featuring second-round pick Alyssa Leonard, three defenders, three midfielders and goaltender Wills comprised Long Island’s first draft. Among their draft class, they tapped into the Terrapins rich lacrosse heritage, selecting defender Megan Douty and midfielder Kelly McPartland.
Perhaps the most offensively aggressive team in the draft was the Philly Force as their first three draft picks were attackers. Joining Tumolo were Alyssa Murray (second round) and Kara Mupo (third round), all poised to be the cornerstone of the offense. The fourth round would see the Force obtain Bridget Bianco, the last goaltender selected in the draft. This group was complemented by the selection of two defenders and three midfielders.
All destined to become part of UWLX lore, each brings their own unique background and skill sets, poised to capture the imagination of fans, novice and seasoned. There is definitely a unified goal among these four fantastic women of contributing towards an exciting and empowering goal of making female sport viable.
A two-time team captain with the Syracuse Orange, Hogan will be relied upon to supply solid leadership with the Boston Storm. Having won over 50 games with the Orange, she was a starter for four seasons under the tutelage of head coach (and NLL legend) Gary Gait.
Honored as an IWLCA All-American in 2010 and Big East Defender of the Year, Hogan would graduate as the Big East’s all-time leader in saves, also holding the Orange single season record, respectively. Equally impressive was the honor of being named to the Capital One Academic All-District Second Team selection in 2011.
In addition to her status as a member of the United States Women’s National Lacrosse Team, Liz Hogan is also a Team STX athlete. Equally admirable is Hogan’s entrepreneurial spirit, one that has seen her launch 2Lacrosse. Offering in-person and online training systems, Hogan also brings the credentials of having coached at the NCAA level.
Currently with Virginia Tech, her first two seasons in coaching proved to be invaluable, serving at Colgate University. Representing a great learning opportunity, Hogan quickly rose through the ranks. First working exclusively with goalkeepers, she would develop solid leadership skills in her second season at Colgate. With the absence of the head coach in the second season, she took on travel plans, video responsibility and recruiting evaluations. With such perspective on the game, Hogan’s presence will certainly propel the Storm into one of the toughest defensive units in UWLX play.
Of note, Hogan is not the only proud Orange alum in the historic first round draft class. Akin to so many other members of the inaugural draft class, Michelle Tumolo is also making a name for herself as a coach. Two seasons at the University of Florida under the guidance of head coach Amanda O’Leary saw Tumolo pay positive dividends for the program. Not only did the Gators boast the second best scoring offense in the nation, Tumolo’s mentoring was a key factor in Shannon Gilroy becoming a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award.
Currently an assistant at Syracuse, where Tumolo also contributes as a recruiting coordinator and offensive coach, she serves on the staff of Gary Gait, bringing her collegiate career full circle. Having played for the Orange for four seasons, she would become the second player in program history to amass 200 points and 100 assists in a career. As a freshman, she was also a member of the US national team.
Part of her legacy with the Orange includes leading the program to unprecedented heights, appearing in the national championship game for the first-time ever. For her efforts, she was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team. Also an IWLCA first-team All-American and BIG EAST Attack Player of the Year, Tumolo will be the centerpiece of the Philly Force offense.
In a decade that has seen so many women in sport break the gender barrier, lacrosse also had its own pioneer. Devon Wills became a prominent name among such pioneering women as she became the first female player signed to a Major League Lacrosse player contract, part of the roster for the New York Lizards. Worthy of the moniker living legend, there is no question that Wills shall be a fan favorite in every UWLX market.
Having grown up in Colorado with a background in ice hockey, Wills was introduced to lacrosse as a teenager and would revolutionize the goaltending position. Mentored early on by Sue Stuart and Danielle Gallagher, she was never afraid to get out of the crease, as witnessed in a legendary gold medal performance at the 2009 FIL World Cup in Prague, throwing checks and soaring past the restraining line. In addition, she would follow it up by starting all seven games for the US at the 2013 FIL World Cup, another gold medal effort.
With a 49-17 record during her collegiate career at Dartmouth, where she earned Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors and served as team captain in her senior season, her foray into UWLX holds a unique connection. Amy Patton, her head coach for the Big Green was named as the first-ever head coach for the Boston Storm. Prior to UWLX, Wills served as a defensive coordinator for the University of Southern California.
A two-time recipient (2012-13) of the prestigious Tewaaraton Award winner, Katie Schwarzmann is destined to be one of the biggest draws in UWLX. Part of the proud group of Maryland Terrapins lacrosse legends in this year’s draft, she graduated from the program third all-time in goals (228) and points (304). As a freshman, she scored 33 goals and captured the 2010 NCAA title. Perhaps more impressive was her undefeated season as a senior, leading the squad in ground balls while appearing in the national title game once again.
An official Under Armour athlete, she was the youngest player on the Team USA roster that captured the gold medal at the 2013 FIL World Cup in Oshawa, Ontario (located east of Toronto). At the event, she would log 14 points on the strength of 10 goals in only seven tournament games.
At the time that Schwarzmann won her first Tewaaraton in 2012, four of the five finalists would one day join her and make history as part of the inaugural UWLX Draft Class. Including Schwarzmann, the group featured the likes of University of Maryland attacker Alex Aust (selected by Baltimore in the second round), University of North Carolina midfielder Kara Cannizzaro (a fourth round pick by Boston) and Syracuse University attacker Alyssa Murray (the Philly Force’s pick in the second round). The only finalist not part of the draft class was University of Florida goalie Mikey Meagher.
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