The St Andrews Women’s Lacrosse 3s continued their impressive form in a hard-fought victory over Edinburgh 4s, ensuring they remain unbeaten this season. Last week on a wet, windy and muddy Wednesday afternoon, the Saints managed to secure a 9-8 victory in an impressive, nail-biting win. I caught up with the co-captains of the 3s, third years Rosa Morris and Kei Yin Yong, in a post-match interview to discuss the victory and what they love about the club.
“This is our year”, they said after the win against their toughest opponents in the league. Midfielder Rosa and defender Kei are feeling very positive about the position their team are in after a close but well-deserved victory against a strong Edinburgh side. The victory follows two dominating and impressive victories, winning 0-39 at Aberdeen and 4-11 against Dundee, with all victories exemplifying the team’s strength this season.
Rosa and Kei told me that the “strength of the team lies in the midfield”; this was illustrated throughout the match as Edinburgh found it difficult to get into the end third after successful double teams and defence from the Saints’ midfield prevented them from executing smooth transitions from defence.
The player of the match was midfielder Olivia McNaught, after they put in an impressive performance on the pitch throughout the hour. The draws from Saskia Dale were also highlighted by the co-captains as a strength in the match, as possession was frequently the Saint’s straight from the centre draw. Although they had to adapt to playing with only 8 players when normally a lacrosse match is played with 10 on each side, The Saints started the game strongly. Edinburgh’s player shortage conveys the importance of match fitness, vital in seeing the match out. The team sat on a slim lead at halftime with the score at 5-3, but after break Edinburgh came out firing on all cylinders, mounting the pressure in the last half of the match. The last 15-minute quarter was nail-biting lacrosse but the Saints defence remained strong and did not concede to Edinburgh’s pressure. The team’s quality was on display as the Saints showed consistency in the attacking third and in front of the goal. When the final whistle was blown, the home team had secured their 9-8 victory against supposedly the toughest opponents in the league.
For match fitness, Rosa and Kei indicated how their weekly fitness sessions lead to the team’s strength, incorporating classes such as boxing, circuits or Zumba. Even though lacrosse is a performance sport, the co-captains told me that as of this year, like netball, the Saints now have a coach.
St Andrews Lacrosse club have three competitive teams that compete most Wednesdays in BUCS league and cup matches, so with the addition of the coach, the 1s are “likely, fingers crossed, to get promoted”, a huge success for the club which is clearly developing. Last season, the 2s were promoted to the top Scottish Tier to join the 1s. The 3s are, as mentioned by the captains “favourites to get promoted” if they “continue [their] impressive performances” which would also mean that they would join the top Scottish Tier, a huge achievement for the sport at St Andrews.
Although many students may never have even heard of lacrosse — never mind picked up a lacrosse stick before — the club has many beginners who are new to the sport as Rosa herself demonstrates, the perfect example of how accessible the sport can be. She was a beginner coming into St Andrews and progressed through the club to being elected captain alongside fellow undergraduate Kei. The beginner sessions are once a week and equipment is not expected or required as the club are able to provide students with sticks. As a result, lacrosse fully welcomes newcomers, unlike many other sports in St Andrews where equipment is required and weekly recreational or beginner sessions are not available.
Kei and Rosa explained how lacrosse at St Andrews is somewhere “everyone is welcome, regardless of their prior experience” and that there is “a place for everyone in the club”. Kei emphasises how the club also has a “strong community” with socials held every Wednesday evening, with your team or with the whole lacrosse club.
Even if you may have played before, there have recently been multiple rule changes to align closer to the men’s game. Lacrosse is pushing to become an Olympic sport, and the men’s and women’s games must be very similar in order to be accepted. It is only “within the past two years the men’s and women’s lacrosse clubs have merged together”, meaning increased integration.
The club are currently organising a charity tournament students will be able to attend and watch this semester. It will be raising money for Movember, raising awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide. The club have set their fundraising target for £200, and the link for donations is on the lacrosse Instagram page — @ustalacrosse. Students should also look out for next semester’s charity tournament, as Rosa explains the plan is to organise a “larger charity tournament with those who are not in the club coming to play too”.
If you were thinking of taking up a new sport at University, look no further then Lacrosse! The beginners/development squad train on Mondays 16.15-17.15 on the grass pitch so get yourself down there to if you want to have a throw around with some welcoming, friendly faces!
Image: Hannah Peart