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Scanlan, Gill Representing Haudenosaunee Nationals On World Stage

Miya Scanlan, pictured, and Lottie Gill will represent the Haudenosaunee Nationals at the 2022 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship. Submitted photo

TOWSON, Md. — The 11th World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship held its opening ceremonies on Wednesday in Towson, Maryland.

Among the nations competing is the Haudenosaunee Nationals which is comprised of six nations, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora, which have joined together to form a Confederacy. The Haudenosaunee Nationals represent the world’s only indigenous sports team in international competition and apart of it is Gowanda High School graduate Miya Scanlan and Gowanda girls lacrosse coach Lottie Gill and both of them will take the field today at 2 p.m. against Japan on ESPN Plus.

“It means everything,” Gill said about representing the Haudenosaunee Nationals. “When I step out on that field for practices or games, I play for all those kids that didn’t have a chance to play. The game is bigger than myself, you think about those kids from the residential schools and in the mass graves. I’m keeping them in mind.”

Lacrosse is an indigenous game and the Haudenosaunee Nationals’ players act as ambassadors of their game by carrying the original message of friendship, healing and peace to other nations of the world. At the opening ceremonies an emphasis was put on the Haudenosaunee and what they mean to the game of lacrosse.

“Opening ceremonies today was great,” added Gill. “It was positive and high energy. They put an emphasis on Haudenosaunee and the Creator’s game.”

Miya Scanlan and Lottie Gill, pictured, will represent the Haudenosaunee Nationals at the 2022 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship. Submitted photo

The members of the Haudenosaunee come range from athletes still competing in high school to athletes not on any team, but training individually to make the national team.

Gill is of the latter group, at the age of 33. She is well removed from her days as a college athlete making her journey to worlds a unique and difficult one.

“This whole experience for me has been surreal because I am on the older end,” Gill stated. “A lot of my teammates are either currently in college or graduated a few years ago. I definitely worked hard and had to train on my own. From that aspect it kind of just has been surreal.”

Gill, a defender, has fought and battled her way onto the team for her first trip to the world games. Unlike most of her teammates, she did not even play lacrosse in college, rather she played basketball at Niagara County Community College.

“In college I actually played basketball, not lacrosse,” added Gill. “A part of my drive is wanting to prove that I can play at a high level. I credit my husband Justin, he was a huge support system for me and did a lot of my training with me.”

The Haudenosaunee Nationals women's lacrosse team is pictured at the opening ceremonies of the 2022 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship. Submitted photo

Gill is not completely removed from the game, now in her second year as the coach of the Gowanda High School girls lacrosse team.

“I always tell the girls to dream big,” Gill said what she tells the Gowanda athletes. “Any athlete in any sport, if you put the work in you can do anything and I am proof of that now.”

Of all the athletes Gill has coached at Gowanda, the one who’s dreams are coming true with Gill are that of the Jacksonville University freshman Miya Scanlan. In Gill’s first year as the Gowanda coach, Scanlan helped lead the program to its first Section VI Class D title.

“Miya is a great kid,” stated Gill. “She’s so unbelievably talented. Her natural talent is insane and her lacrosse IQ is amazing.”

Scanlan, a freshman on attack at Jacksonville University, scored 15 goals and had four assists for 19 points in 18 games as the Dolphins claimed a fifth Atlantic Sun tournament title in a row. In the NCAA tournament, Scanlan cracked the SportsCenter Top 10 Plays with a nifty behind the back goal in a 20-8 win over Stanford. Now Scanlan will get her chance to show off her talent on the world stage and it can be viewed on ESPN Plus in the group stage of the tournament.

“She has gone through so much growth at Jacksonville,” added Gill. “I am super stoked to play with her, she’s definitely someone you want on your team.”

While Scanlan will look to score the goals, Gill will be on the other end of the field fighting to prevent them.

“We open up pool play against Japan today,” Gill said. “I go in the mindset of wanting to be a wrecking ball, fighting for those groundballs and doing all the things coach likes us to do.”

Gill and Scanlan are not the lone Section VI lacrosse alumni representing the Haudenosaunee Nationals as they are joined by Beretta Santana, Ivy Santana, Jalyn Jimerson, Cassandra Minerd, Lois Garlow and Jenna Haring. Beretta Santana, Ivy Santana, Jimerson and Haring all played for Lake Shore before going on to play at the collegiate level.

Jimerson is the player spotlight for the Haudenosaunee Nationals, playing in her second world championship. The Syracuse University star made her senior debut in 2017 with 11 goals and seven assists, then at the 2019 U19 world championships she scored 26 goals and had 13 assists in eight games to finish fourth in scoring at the tournament.

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