With 2019 flying fast, the biggest date in the lacrosse calendar, National Schools, was here. With seven teams and 120 girls competing across four days, it was set to be an exciting time for all involved. This year the tournament was being held at Aldershot Garrison Sports Complex with all teams and age groups competing there.
The weekend kicked off with the group stages for the 1st and 2nd team, who both played in 6 matches on Saturday 2nd March. The 1st team won all 6 games with an impressive goal difference and the 2nd team won 4 out of 6. Superb performances from both teams saw them sail through to the top divisions in their respective tournaments.
On Sunday 3rd March, Storm Freya made quite the appearance bringing heavy rain and wind to the lacrosse pitches. The girls were not dismayed however, comfortably finishing their group stages going through to the knockouts of the tournament. The 2nd team faced Downe House, losing in a very close match 3-2. They performed amazingly given the conditions, and congratulations on making the top 16 in the country!
The 1st team were up against St Catherine’s in the knockouts; an intense and exciting game having faced them in the finals of National Schools in 2018. The girls displayed a stellar performance, going through to the Quarter-finals with a 4-3 win! They faced Wycombe Abbey, another strong team, but sealed the deal 2-1 to go through to the semi-finals.
The semi-finals were relocated to the stadium pitch, allowing parents and friends to watch from the stands and cheer on their respective teams. The 1sts were up against GHS, another tough side who they knocked out of the competition in the previous year. Storm Freya continued on as the game got underway, but it was GHS who took the spot in the finals. A huge well done to the whole team who were determined every step of the way, and congratulations on making the top 4 in the country!
On Monday 4th March, it was the turn of the 3rd team and the U15’s to compete in their tournaments at National Schools. Storm Freya had appeared to have relaxed with a calm and overcast morning to kick off the group stages. However, halfway through the day an intense hailstorm and flying gazebos meant match play was surrendered until it had passed. Play was resumed a short time after and the group stages continued. The 3rd team and the U15B’s faced tough pools, both finishing 6th in their group. A huge well done to both teams for giving it their all on the day!
The U15A’s had an impressive morning finishing 2nd in their pool to go through to the knockout stage. It was here that their journey ended at National Schools, coming up against St Swithuns who took the win to go through to the Quarter Finals. However, huge congratulations to the team on making the top 16!
On the final day of National Schools, it was the turn of the U14A and U13A teams to compete. Because of last year’s Beast from the East, this was the first time for both teams competing at National Schools. The U13A’s had a very successful group stage, coming 2nd in their pool to make it through to the knockouts versus Downe House. Again, Downe House took the win to go through to the quarter-finals. The team did a phenomenal job to make it through to the last 16 in their first every National tournament, so congratulations to all of them!
The U14A’s had a superb morning, winning their group stage with an impressive goal difference. Going into the knockouts, they played Godolphin who they won convincingly against to make it to the quarter finals. Here they played St Mary’s Calne, who after a very nail biting 17 minutes plus overtime saw LEH take the win 4-3, making it to the semi-finals! This match was against Caterham, who had also had a good morning in the group stage. LEH held their nerve and kept calm, going through to the finals after an exciting 6-4 win!
The final match to be crowned National Schools Lacrosse Champion was against Moreton Hall. Half-time saw the score line at 5-1 to Moreton Hall. As the girls switched ends, they kept focused and calm, determined to bring home the gold. The 8 minutes that followed saw them bring it back to 5-4 with a penalty awarded to LEH in the last 30 seconds. Unfortunately, the goal wasn’t scored, and the hooter for the end of the game meant Moreton Hall were crowned National Championships.
The team were absolutely phenomenal the whole day and gracious in their 2nd place position. The girls should be so exceptionally proud of how they performed on the day and the astounding achievement of being 2nd in the country for their sport! Huge congratulations to the whole team and to their coach Miss Hawkins on their success; what an incredible way to finish an exciting, busy and competitive four days of lacrosse!
By Miss Meakings - PE Assistant & Lacrosse Coach
- LEH Sport