Tour Report: Lacrosse in the USA
The 2018 USA tour squad set out to the Big Apple with a fantastic itinerary ahead of us. Looking back, we realised that the people involved were what made this such a special trip. The squad came together well, overcoming varying age ranges, searing temperatures and a different style of Lacrosse play.
Before the hard work began, we managed to see as much of New York as possible in 24 hours, including the Rockefeller Centre, Times Square and our new favourite American food place, Chipotle. The next morning, we also visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which was both shocking and enlightening, but definitely worth seeing.
When we arrived in Pennsylvania, we were slightly reluctant to leave the group for our host families but any nerves were soon dispelled, as they all the hosts proved to be ever so welcoming. Over the course of the two days, we became part of their respective families, although they were the opposition. We learnt so much from playing T3 Lacrosse Club, such as their dynamic set plays and draw control. While Daisy Mitford-Slade (MM L6) over heated in her goalie kit, she was well supported by the defence and especially the clears by Honor Mills (EL Re). Another stand out player was Sara Kirkwood (EL Re) for her perseverance in successfully playing centre for the first time. As a reward, we were all invited back to a pool party and BBQ which was much needed as the temperature we were playing in nearly reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
We then travelled south on Independence Day and stopped at the King of Prussia Mall – the biggest mall on the east coast – where an enjoyable but excitable time was had. We finally arrived just outside Baltimore where met our next host families. After spending the morning with them, we played a challenging game against Uproar Lacrosse Club in the evening. The highlight of the match was certainly Sophie Powell’s (IH Re) perfectly executed goal.
Our favourite day included a Coaching Clinic with the England Defence coach, Mike Molster, and the attacker for the Baltimore Braves, Brooke Griffin, who we then watched in a professional match later. The whole experience was unbelievable! The women’s professional lacrosse league matches got us in a great mind-set for the next morning. We arrived early at the Capital Lacrosse Tournament where we played three matches and drank plenty of Gatorade over the course of the day. We got off to a good start against Lax Factory showing outstanding teamwork after bonding through a fantastic week of activities. Our mental strength was tested in the second match against the Yellow Jackets. We had to revise our approach in order to pull ourselves together for the final match of the day against Madlax, which was then the best lacrosse we had played all tour. Highlights include Claudie Grainger’s (IH Hu) constant commitment in the midfield and Molly Marvin’s (NC Re) numerous goals. It was learning curve for us as a team and a fantastic experience. On the final day of the tournament, we had the opportunity to play The Yellow Jackets again. Our positive attitude and subsequently better lacrosse skills, took our opposition by surprise! Overall, the two days of lacrosse were an incredible experience for all the players; we achieved our goals of having fun and learning something new.
We headed to Washington to enjoy our last day together and to celebrate our achievements with a special supper and awards. It was hard to single people out, but Daisy Mitford-Slade (MM L6), our treasured goalie, was given the Players’ Player Award, Allie Kirkwood (DA Re) the Coaches’ Award and Sophie Kirkwood (EL Hu) the Captain’s Award. This awesome tour could not have been possible without such kind, caring and supportive coaches. Miss Hudson, Mr Hodgson and Josh Wall were the best. There could not have been a better start to the summer and we are now all looking forward to the next season of this ever-growing sport at Marlborough.
Nell Hargrove (IH L6) and Violet Mackintosh (MO L6)