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Athletes Unlimited: Three athletes to watch as lacrosse season begins

(Photo courtesy of Athletes Unlimited)

The second season of Athletes Unlimited lacrosse has arrived, with the four week season running from July 21 through August 14.

This year’s rookie class is stacked with names like Charlotte North and Jamie Ortega entering the ranks. But others like Sam Apuzzo and Caylee Waters are back in the fold. Just Women’s Sports has three athletes to watch as the season heats up

Charlotte North

Raise your hand if you’re surprised Charlotte North is on this list. 

One of this season’s rookies, North enters this season having cemented her legacy as one of the greatest collegiate lacrosse players of all time. The NCAA all-time leader with 358 career goals, she brings the firepower every time she steps onto the field. 

A two-time Tewaaraton Award winner, she is also fresh off of winning gold with Team USA at the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship (as are many of those competing with Athletes Unlimited this season). At those championships, North led Team USA in goals with 23 total – good for ninth in the tournament. 

She appears to be bringing those stats with her, having scored three goals in her first AU game against Team Waters, with two of those goals being two-point goals. She added three assists and won two draw controls, showcasing just how balanced she can be on the scoresheet.

Look for North to find the back of the net even more this season – and find herself at or near the top of the leaderboard.

Lauren Gilbert

A two-time IWLCA All-American First Team selection, Lauren Gilbert made noise with a very good Northwestern program in college. The fourth-leading scorer in program history with 225 career goals, she helped lead the Wildcats to two Big Ten Conference titles and three NCAA semifinal appearances.

Her first time out with Team Apuzzo ended well last night, with Gilbert rocketing to the top of the leaderboard. She notched the first goal of the Athletes Unlimited season – her first of four on the night against Team Glynn.

While there are still plenty of games to be played, Gilbert is no stranger to leading the way, having led Northwestern last season with 79 goals and 106 points. With 27 assists, she’s also capable of creating chances for teammates, making her a threat all around.

Marie McCool

Another player fresh off of a gold medal win at the world championships, Marie McCool ranked second on Team USA with 20 goals, including the opener in the gold medal game against Canada.

She also contributed 17 draw controls and had five hat tricks in eight separate games. The former No. 2 overall selection in the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League draft and a 2019 WPLL champion with Baltimore, McCool is a winner.

After finishing ninth last season with 1,517 points, the midfielder is back and ready for more. Look for her to improve on her draw controls from last season (49, good for second in the league) and continue her goal scoring tear from the world championships. Already she has two from Team Waters’ 12-8 loss to Team Read, which was tied for first on her team with attacker Kenzie Kent (2G, 2A).

The Athletes Unlimited lacrosse season continues Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.