Gianna Monaco and Audrey Cashin have played together in Mt. Laurel Lacrosse since first grade.
Young Mt. Laurel residents Gianna Monaco and Audrey Cashin are no strangers to playing lacrosse together.
The two soon-to-be eighth-grade students came up together through Mt. Laurel Lacrosse since first grade, and the two have also played together through Ultimate Lacrosse, a club founded by U.S. National Lacrosse Hall of Fame member and Women’s Lacrosse World Cup gold medal winner Michele DeJuliis.
As of earlier this week, Audrey and Gianna can say they’ve also played together nationally and won a medal, as the duo had the honor of being the only Mt. Laurel residents on their U13 Ultimate Elite team, which placed second in the nation at the USLacrosse Nationals Tournament in Richmond, Va.
Despite Gianna, Audrey and the rest of their team coming up short in their last game against the New York Yellow Jackets 2022 Blue team by a score of 13–5, the two Mt. Laurel girls say playing in the tournament was definitely a positive experience.
“Most of the teams have been playing together since they were little, and we just started in the summer, so I wasn’t sure how we’d do, but it was great when we won the semi-final,” Audrey said.
With teams from the entire nation, Gianna said she wasn’t sure how the Ultimate Elite would perform, but she was also happy with the result.
“It’s feels really good to at least be second in the nation,” Gianna said.
Although Audrey and Gianna knew some of the other girls on the Ultimate Elite Team from their play on the Ultimate New Jersey team, each girl also said it was good to know the other was there.
“It did help knowing someone from the same town,” Gianna said.
While the two girls were humble in their accomplishment, Gianna’s father Rob Monaco, who has coached Gianna and Audrey during their time in Mt. Laurel Lacrosse, characterized it as “extremely tough” for the two girls to have done as well as they did in the tournament if they weren’t such quality athletes.
“It’s a tough thing to do just to get there,” Monaco said. “They had to make the regular Ultimate Team and from there try out with more girls. It takes a lot of work and dedication on their part and they both did it.”
Each girl hopes to continue lacrosse through high school and even play the game in college. However, they also haven’t forgotten where they started.
This year, Mt. Laurel Lacrosse introduced a mentor program where its older players helped teach players in younger age groups.
Audrey and Gianna each spent time helping the program’s younger girls and spoke highly of the experience.
“I loved being able to go down and help the little kids and just see how much potential they could have,” Gianna said. “It just reminded how I was like most of them and how much love they have for lacrosse.”
Audrey agreed, and even told her mother the experience made her think about teaching kindergarten as a possible profession in her future.
“I really liked being able to teach them and help them out, and I just wanted to keep doing it,” Audrey said. “I just liked seeming them progress.”