The 2003-2004 lacrosse programme started its double season with quite a few achievements to live up to from last year’s 1st XII. Last year’s efforts produced 8 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw overall and a total of 71 goals. Additionally, their undefeated Easter season was proof of the balanced cohesion of individual skills and team performance.
Yet, even with these hard-won successes, Haileybury drew for second at the East Qualifier for Nationals. The East could only send two teams and eventually our athletes did compete in the National Small Schools’ Tournament albeit through a wild card opening. This year’s window for improvement was clear: a stronger showing at the East qualifier.
Towards this end, the fixtures list was revamped to include tougher opponents and more creative fixtures, like the parent/staff match and the weekday fixture against St. Alban’s. The St Alban’s match turned out to be extremely well-timed as the squad had gone without a demanding practice for a full week due to snowy weather. This match was scheduled as an uphill battle to get the girls focused for the imminent tournament. Despite the superior opposition’s characteristic strong start and fluidly opportunistic goals, our girls showed quite a bit of grit and character by playing their very best up to the last moment. They achieved everything they had set out to do: elevated their standard of play and sharpened their hunger for wins. With only a few days until the tournament, the 1st XII’s steadily building drive was fed in practices by their collective aim for a strong qualification. We were ready.
On the morning of February 7th, just after the sun came up, the 1st XII lacrosse team trundled off to Princess Helena College for this years Qualifier. We bolstered our numbers with the addition of Lucy Phillips as second home and Sarah Butterfield in goal.
Having studied the favourable draw and squelched out their warm-up run, the 1sts took the field for their first match against St. Margaret’s Bushy. It ended in a 4-0 win. Next, we faced off against Abbot’s Hill. Having gained the momentum in the first match, our offensive end really got creative and out played their opponents for a 7-0 shut out. Passes continually connected solidly for our entire squad as our defence shut down runs in the midfield. Then it was onto the hosts, PHC, for the most physical match of the afternoon and another win at 3-0. Despite the grueling pace of tournament play, our girls went on to win their last two games against King’s Canterbury 2-1 and Stowe School 8-1. Haileybury was the undefeated champion!
In total, the 1st XII scored 24 goals with 8 assists, conceded only 2 shots and qualified for the National Small Schools’ Tournament on March 13th.