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PHILADELPHIA – Former Penn women’s lacrosse standout Katie Mazer, C'09 will step onto international stage this summer, representing Israel in the nation’s first-ever trip to the Women’s World Cup.
A three-time Ivy League champion and three-time NCAA semifinalist, Mazer is one of 20 players slated to suit up in Oshawa, Ontario this June and one of four players listed as primary defenders. During her time in University City, Mazer appeared in 45 games with 36 starts. She finished her career with 43 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers while leading one of the nation’s premier defensive units.
"Growing up Jewish, I have always known the significance of Israel, but returning here has given me a far greater understanding,” said Mazer. “Israel represents hard work, resilience, and belief. Living here has allowed me to better understand the Jewish culture and Israel has truly become a home to me. Lacrosse has been a passion of mine ever since I was a child. Through every phase of my life, lacrosse has been a constant; it's been a link that has connected me to some of my greatest friendships and experiences. To wear Israel on my uniform in the World Cup is an honor. It represents the continuing growth of Israel into new realms, particularly sports for women. It is the highest possible level of competition and to have reached this point in my lacrosse career is something I will always be proud of."
Israel’s roster is composed of both Israeli players, as well as members of the Jewish diaspora, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL). The roster was selected after a series of tryouts at HaYarkon Sportek in Tel Aviv and the Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ, as well as an extensive interview process.
In conjunction with the Israel Lacrosse Tzedakah Program, each player will be competing in honor of a charity of their choosing. A portion of the national team’s general fundraising efforts has been committed to each charity.
“I am playing in honor of Kuchinate,” Mazer said. “Kuchinate means 'to crochet' in Tigrina, the language of the people of Eritrea, Africa. The African Refugee Development Center here in Tel Aviv has a women's divison and within that is a women's empowerment project called Kuchinate. The women work alongside one another crocheting beautiful baskets and they are later sold at markets and craft shows. The project empowers the women by teaching them a skill they can make a living off of, but also, it gets them out of bed each morning which is no easy feat. After their journey from Eritrea, many are emotionally distraught or have experienced incredible trauma and sadness-- the Kuchinate project offers them a purpose. I have spent much of my time here in Tel Aviv volunteering at the women's shelter and Kuchinate. Spending my days with these women is a reminder of how lucky so many of us are, and how important it is to give back to those who are not."
Israel will open its World Cup with a match against No. 10 Germany on June 11. Other teams in Israel’s pool include No. 8 Scotland and No. 16 South Korea.