Like every other game in her career, Florida senior midfielder Brittany Dashiell had coaches and teammates cheering her on. But on Saturday and Sunday at the Disney Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, they were cheering for Dashiell from the stands.
Dashiell competed for the U.S. lacrosse women’s national team in games against the England national team, Syracuse and Northwestern.
Dashiell, who was one of five college lacrosse players on the squad, finished the weekend with two goals along with one assist over the three games.
In a move to shrink the roster size to 18, Dashiell was one of seven players cut this week. Despite not making the final cut for the World Cup, Dashiell was thankful for the experience she gained from playing on the international squad.
“Playing with the U.S. team is different from playing with Florida, but I definitely learned a lot,” Dashiell said. “It’s made me much better ... and hopefully, I can carry it over for Florida.”
Earning a spot on the U.S. national team has been one of Dashiell’s goals since she arrived at Florida. Her first tryout came as a freshman.
“I didn’t really know what I was getting into, because I just went there for the experience to see what it would be like more than anything else,” Dashiell said.
She didn’t make it that year but said the experience helped her this time around.
“I’m glad I did it because I knew what to expect when I tried out this year,” Dashiell said. “The experience of playing college ball has really made me a much better player and made me more prepared for the tryouts.”
Dashiell was the first Florida lacrosse player to earn a spot on the U.S. national team’s 25-player roster. UF coach Amanda O’Leary is proud of Dashiell and excited to see how Dashiell’s international experience will help her teammates.
“To have a representative on the U.S. program is wonderful,” O’Leary said.
“It’s great experience for her playing with the best of the best, and she brings that out every time she comes out for Florida.”
Former U.S. national team player and current Florida assistant coach Erica LaGrow can vouch for the benefits of playing on the international scene.
Drawing on her own experience on the international level from 2007 to 2012, LaGrow said the competition the U.S. squad faces helps both the players and the coaches improve.
LaGrow noticed Dashiell’s game pace has increased since playing for the U.S. team.
“I think it helps playing with the best players in the world, understanding their styles,” LaGrow said. “A lot of them on the national team are coaches, so you learn different coaching styles, get new ideas.”
Senior Brittany Dashiell (left) attempts a shot during Florida’s 18-13 exhibition win against England on Jan. 24 at Dizney Stadium. Dashiell and the Gators defeated Stony Brook 16-9 on Wednesday.