UEA men’s Lacrosse team lost 10-2 to undefeated league-leaders Birmingham at Colney Lane, but gave a good account of themselves as they continued their positive early-season form.
The Birmingham keeper was first required to save a Sean Cullum shot before his side turned on the pressure, however UEA’s defence were solid and organised throughout. Petros Papayiannis was outstanding for the hosts, with Harry Harris making a number of marauding runs to bring the ball out of UEA’s defence and start attacks.
However, Birmingham did find a breakthrough for 1-0, which is how the first quarter finished with UEA still very much in contention.
UEA’s defence was again excellent in the second quarter, with goalkeeper Charlie Albuery making the first of several important saves in his best game of the season so far. And UEA’s defensive discipline paid off when Oregon-based exchange student Eric Ritchie drew the sides level on the stroke of half-time.
Not long had the second half been underway when UEA dared to dream of a surprise result. Captain Travis Payne was on his toes to expertly dodge past several Birmingham defenders, firing in a powerful shot to put UEA 2-1 up.
Papayiannis was then involved again as he made a superb block to maintain UEA’s lead, with the resulting shot slashed wide.
Sadly for UEA, it didn’t last long. Birmingham were soon level at 2-2, and straight after scored another quickfire goal to take the lead, a sucker punch for UEA who immediately called a timeout.
After the break, UEA regrouped, and Albuery made a stunning double save to see UEA go into the final quarter only a goal down at 3-2.
In that fourth quarter, Birmingham’s class begin to show as they stretched out their lead to 10-2, a scoreline that seriously flattered them and did not reflect UEA’s performance, particularly defensively, for the first three quarters.
Birmingham netted soon after the restart, and despite another good Albuery save they capitalised on UEA’s tired legs by scoring several late on.
Last week, UEA fell to a disappointing 7-3 defeat at home to Warwick, with UEA’s goals coming from Jhan Tibudan, Mitchell Hoverd and Matt Dewhurst. Midfielder Seb Grant was named man of the match after a good performance in which he created several opportunities and achieved excellent facing statistics.
Meanwhile, the women’s team have picked up their first win of the season, beating Nottingham fourths away in the first round of the Midlands Conference Cup to set up a second-round tie at Derby this week. Lottie Payne was man of the match in a comprehensive 21-4 win.
UEA succumbed to table-toppers Oxford Brookes 24-1 the next week in a tough game where they picked up several injuries. However, it was in fact a good result for the Eagles considering the visitors’ all-conquering form going into the game. They had won four from four with +115 goal difference, including several clean sheets and two victories by 35 or more goals. Cat Stallard netted UEA’s consolation.
Owing to a lack of recent league fixtures for the seconds, a women’s development team drew six apiece with their Leicester counterparts in a friendly match which allowed a number of freshers to enjoy some invaluable game time at Colney Lane.
UEA also sent two teams to the annual small-sided freshers’ tournament in Hertfordshire to pit their wits against other new players. Issy Fumpston was MVP for the women, who placed third, while Euan Dickson was the star for the men, who beat the tournament champions Lincoln 1-0 in a friendly.