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Friday January 25, 2013 Gators senior Dashiell shoots for spot on U.S.National Team's World Cup roster

Updated: 10:05am, January 25

Brittany Dashiell

Brittany Dashiell is one of 5 college players vying for spot on U.S. National Team's World Cup roster.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Brittany Dashiell is in the midst of preparing for her final season with the Gators lacrosse team.

In Thursday night’s exhibition win over England’s National Team, Dashiell introduced herself to the Brits early by scoring Florida’s first goal and adding an assist on UF’s second goal.

That’s nothing new for the senior from Bel Air, Md. Dashiell scored a team-high 69 points (44 goals, 25 assists) as a junior, helping the third-year program make it all the way to the Final Four.

But before the Gators open the season Feb. 9 at North Carolina, Dashiell wants to make her mark with another team. She is one of 25 players vying for 18 spots on the 2013 U.S. Women’s National Team that will try to repeat as World Cup champions in Canada in July.

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Dashiell is in Orlando this weekend competing with Team USA in the Champions Challenge at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. She is one of five college players trying to make the final cut.

The U.S. plays Syracuse and Northwestern in its final two games before the World Cup roster is selected. The team will be announced early next week according to USA Lacrosse.

“I tried out my freshman year just to see what it was like,’’ Dashiell said. “It was really tough, so I wanted to take a couple more years to get myself prepared for it.”

In the two years since last trying out, Dashiell has developed into one of the nation’s top college players. She was one of five finalists last season for the Tewaaraton Award (women’s college lacrosse’s Heisman Trophy) and one of four finalists for the Honda Sports Award.

A senior midfielder, Dashiell is dangerous offensively and defensively and one of the reasons why the Gators are expected to challenge for a national title this season.

Dashiell is more confident in her chances to make the U.S. National Team than two years ago. She competed with the team last fall in tournaments and camp and held her own.

“It’s awesome to be able to play with the best players in the nation,’’ she said. “Some of them are coaches, some are players. It’s a lot of fun. Half the time I am playing I’m just staring at them in amazement how incredible they are at lacrosse.

“I have no clue what’s going to happen. I’m hoping for the best and that I play well this weekend. I think I’ve shown them what I’m capable of and hopefully that will be enough to make it.”

One of the players on the U.S. team is Caitlyn McFadden, a former Tewaaraton Award winner at Maryland who spent the past two seasons as a Gators assistant. McFadden returned to Maryland as an assistant after last season. Former Vanderbilt standout Allyson Carey is also competing for a spot as a midfielder; Carey is a former high school teammate of Dashiell’s and the two have been good friends since they were 6.

While Dashiell is one of the youngest players vying for a spot on the team, she isn’t overwhelmed going up against players sometimes four or five years older than she is.

“I feel like I’ve been taught so much here at Florida,’’ she said. “That’s why I feel like I made it [to this stage] this year. Just having more experience at Florida and from playing against some of the other best players in the nation has really prepared me for playing for the U.S.”

Dashiell will know early next week if her play this weekend was good enough for a berth on the team. She’ll be back in Gainesville with the Gators by that time.

Regardless of whether she makes the U.S. National Team’s World Cup roster, Dashiell envisions a memorable final season at UF.

“Last year was our first time in the Final Four,’’ she said. “We were so excited about being there. We’ve just learned to stay more focused and building on what we did last year.”

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