The second annual SheBelieves Cup earlier this month was one to forget for the U.S. women's national team: The world's top-ranked team and reigning Women's World Cup champions lost back-to-back matches on home soil for the first time since 2000 and finished last in the four-team event.
But one bright spot for the U.S. was the play of midfielder Rose Lavelle (UW), who impressed in her first appearances for the full national team.
The 21-year-old was named the Americans' player of the match after her first cap, a 1-0 loss to England on March 4 in a frigid Harrison, N.J. It's believed that she is the first former UW women's player to earn an international cap.
Lavelle, who was picked by the Boston Breakers with the No. 1 pick in this year's National Women's Soccer League College Draft, started on the left flank – she played as a central midfielder with the Badgers – and hardly put a foot wrong.
"(There was) a phenomenal answer I got tonight: Rose Lavelle. She was fantastic," U.S. coach Jill Ellis said after the game, which England won on Ellen White's 89th-minute goal. "It was her first cap, but after 5 minutes of nerves, she settled into that game and she was one of the best players in the park. So that was fantastic. She did very well wide, and she's a natural lefty so we like that out there."
The Cincinnati native nearly scored in her debut, as she was denied by goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain on a great chance in the 19th minute, and Twitter was abuzz after her nutmeg of Manchester City defender Lucy Bronze. (Watch below)
"Definitely for the first couple of touches I was nervous, but then the adrenaline started going," said Lavelle, who was part of several full national team training camps over the past two years. "I felt that I got my groove as the game went on."
Lavelle also started and played the first half as the U.S. closed out the SheBelieves Cup with a 3-0 loss to France on March 7 in Washington, D.C.
On Twitter: @roselavelle