Natalie Bulgier can lose herself on a lacrosse field.
“I never really think about all the time or all the work I put into it, because I always loved it,’ the Souderton Area senior said. “It’s something I’ve always been passionate about.’
Bulgier’s love for the sport is carrying her overseas.
One of 18 players selected to represent the United States, Bulgier will help Team USA try and defend gold at the Federation of International Lacrosse Under-19 World Championships this summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“It’s an unreal feeling,’ Bulgier said. “It’s an unreal feeling to wear that uniform.’
Team USA will aim to continue its string of dominance. The squad has won gold at the FIL U-19’s every year since 1999. To select its 18 finest is a tedious and sometimes grueling process, and Bulgier pushed through.
“It’s been a long journey, but definitely worth it,’ said the senior, who is already set to play at Georgetown University next year. “(At the final selections), when I went in and my number was called, I got pretty emotional. It’s been kind of a whirlwind ever since.’
Bulgier battled through a three-day, 100-player tryout back in August, her all-around skills enabling her to advance to a 25-player pool.
The training team competed together in October and then again in early January in Naples, Fla. at the US Lacrosse Champions Challenge, where the squad defeated both Stetson University and Rollins College.
One final push, and Bulgier had made it to the treasured final cut of 18.
“This talented group demonstrated incredible mental toughness, unselfishness, hard work and commitment throughout the demanding tryout process,’ said Team USA’s head coach, Kim Simons. “Our coaching staff is looking forward to working with this amazing team of young women as we continue on our journey to win gold in July.’
Bulgier will help anchor the defense, joined in the back by Erin Kelly (Clarkstown South, N.Y.), Sarah Platt (Agnes Irwin), Hannah Proctor, (Radnor), and Claire Quinn (St. Anthony’s, N.Y.).
The Souderton Area senior will also be playing with a future college teammate, as fellow Georgetown recruit Francesca Whitehurst (Roland Park Country, Md.) will be roaming the midfield.
“I want to learn as much as I can over there,’ Bulgier said.
While at Souderton, Bulgier has been a perennial all-conference selection in the Suburban One Continental and was instrumental in Big Red’s run to disticts last spring.
She’ll have a chance to win gold this summer. Team USA has earned the past four gold medals, coming in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011, most recently defeating Australia 14-11 in Hannover, Germany four years ago.
Bulgier first picked up a lacrosse stick when she was in second grade, tagging along with her older sister, Tori, who went on to play at Marquette.
Natalie’s been honing her skills ever since.
“She’s quick, has tremendous speed and stickwork,’ said Nancy Offner, who coached Bulgier in the Souderton youth program. “She’s a very focused, very dedicated player.’
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