Sophia DiCenso is not just competing, but thriving as well, on the international stage.
The former Foxboro High standout and two-time Hockomock League MVP has helped the United States squad earn the No. 1 seed at the Women’s Lacrosse U19 World Championships in Peterborough, Ontario.
“Watching all the old U19 games and videos, it’s even cooler than what I thought it would be like,” DiCenso said prior to the 25-0 victory over Hong Kong in the Round of 16 on Tuesday.
The U.S. squad completed pool play with an unblemished 3-0 record, including wins over Australia, England and defending champion Canada. The Americans outscored opponents 43-11 during the first three matches to earn the No. 1 seed entering single-elimination, tournament play.
“It’s so cool playing, the energy is so high,” DiCenso said. “From the fans, to our bench, we celebrate every play. We celebrate the small things and I just think that’s what helps us do so well.”
The US team did a bit more celebrating on Tuesday after they defeated Hong Kong 25-0 to advance to the quarterfinals on Wednesday night against Wales.
DiCenso, who is playing midfield with the second line, tallied six points in her first three games. She compiled two goals and one assist in wins over England (18-2) and Canada (13-5).
She said that she was playing half of the 60-minute game, which features four 15-minute quarters.
“We (substitute) every three minutes for the midfielders,” DiCenso said. “It’s just, you go as hard as you can. Our defense that we play, especially the midfielders, it’s a very high-pressure defense. And it’s pressuring the ball as hard as you can. So, the subs are quick. It’s split pretty even.”
DiCenso said a major reason why she believes the U.S. has been as successful as they have to this point is because of their familiarity with each other. The U.S. team has been competing with each other for over a year while some teams, DiCenso said, have spent less time together.
“It’s been more than a year now that we’ve all been together, working on the same offense, running the same motions, working on defenses that we do,” DiCenso said. “So I think that’s like a big part of it. We’re all on the same page when we’re out on the field. The chemistry is just so perfect and it just always looks so nice.”
While the strong start is a positive sign for the U.S., DiCenso said the team is not looking too far ahead considering that at the previous World Championships in 2015, the U.S. defeated Canada 15-9, but then fell in the gold medal game.
“That’s like our coach’s whole motto,” DiCenso said. “We don’t think about the next game. The whole time we’re at practice we’re working on different plays, we’re watching a lot of film, but only about this game. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”
DiCenso appreciates the support she has received from the Foxboro community and elsewhere.
“The support from back home, it’s crazy,” DiCenso said. “It’s so nice.”