(Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Before a 9-0 win over Uzbekistan on Tuesday night, Rose Lavelle was handed the captain’s armband for the first time in her U.S. women’s national team career.

It was the last thing she was expecting.

“I don’t think I ever saw myself in that position, but it’s a huge honor,” the midfielder said after the game. “It’s something I think I’ll remember forever.”

Reaching 71 caps and a team-high 35 USWNT appearances under head coach Vlatko Andonovski, Lavelle has evolved into a leader for the young team, which features 14 players with 15 caps or fewer.

“Very happy with her, and I was very proud to tell her that she is going to be captain of this team for this game,” Andonovski said. “It is very nice to see how much she has grown and how she’s growing into this role.”

The armband adds to what’s been a standout April for Lavelle, just halfway into the month.

On Tuesday, Lavelle scored a near hat trick as she helped the U.S. extend its home unbeaten streak to 67 games. A mere 25 seconds into the match, she dribbled down the right flank, beat her opponent and sent a cross into the box that Uzbekistan’s defense accidentally deflected into the net.

Lavelle went on to bury back-to-back goals in the 25th and 26th minutes for her 19th and 20th career scores with the USWNT. She first capitalized on her own rebound after a blocked shot, chipping it over the goalkeeper and a defender.

Lavelle followed that up with one of her classic solo runs through Uzbekistan’s entire half to the top of their box. Using nifty moves to get around defenders, she fired a powerful shot that bounced off the post to the back of the net.

In the USWNT’s 9-1 win over Uzbekistan on Saturday, Lavelle set up Mallory Pugh and Catarina Macario for goals. Andonovski has been vocal about building the team around that front three as they near World Cup Qualifiers this summer.

Before the international break on April 2, Lavelle scored the lone goal in a rival victory over the Portland Thorns to help OL Reign secure first place in the West Division standings of the NWSL Challenge Cup.

Lavelle has been thriving off the field, too. In camp on Monday, the USWNT enjoyed a surprise post-training visit from the local service dogs at Subaru Park. Lavelle, arguably the most passionate “dog person” on the team with an Instagram account for her English Bulldog, Wilma Jean, was especially taken by the interaction.

So far, April 2022 has belonged to Rose Lavelle. And with the USWNT captain’s armband now on her radar, there’s even more room for her star to grow.

Jessa Braun is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering the NWSL and USWNT. Follow her on Twitter @jessabraun.