UEA women’s Lacrosse first team finished their BUCS Midlands 2A campaign with a resounding 19-0 victory away at Derby.
Six of UEA’s goals were scored by Derby native Fiona Smith, with five coming from Phoebe Hartz. Cat Stallard netted three and was named man of the match, with Carsen Lennon, Bee Belkacem, Georgie Sutton, Kiki Abay and Beth Heritage completing the scoring.
UEA were missing several key players for the trip to the midlands including Adela Milà-de-Puri, Tilly Pembroke, Emily Winter and Lottie Payne, who was competing for UEA Snow at the BUCS national snowsports finals.
And there was some pressure on UEA to finish their league season with a big win having beaten Derby twice already in league and cup, although with a full strength Derby team it would never be as straightforward as the 36-0 win over a depleted visiting side earlier in the season at Colney Lane.
All that was needed in terms of the league was a win to overtake Warwick 2s and finish fourth in the table.
The first quarter began as an end-to-end affair, with both sides settling their attacks in front of goal, both defences turning over possession and any UEA hopes of a walkover before the match forgotten. However, Hartz calmed UEA nerves by opening the deadlock, and two goals just before half-time from Cat Stallard saw UEA go into the first break 3-0 to the good.
The Eagles started really having fun in the second half’s dazzling sun, reaching 9-0 by half-time, and kept extending their lead, with defenders Abay and Belkacem both netting their first goals for UEA as the deep defence and midfield shuffled positions to allow more players to get involved in attacking moves.
Fresher Olivia Stock was one of UEA’s key attacking threats all afternoon. Her classy ball control, good movement and clever shooting vision created numerous goals and chances, and she merited at least a few goals herself, but it was sadly not to be.
Heritage scored UEA’s nineteenth, showing the eye for goal that made her so prolific for the 2s this season, after Sutton, who alternated between midfield and goal, had saved a last-quarter penalty to protect her side’s clean sheet.
Although time ran out on a twentieth with UEA on the attack, the Eagles were delighted to better the 18-0 Conference Cup win they picked up at Derby in November.
The fixture marked nine players’ final BUCS matches for UEA, (Sutton, Jemima Rohde, Abay, Alex Sturdy, Ellie Lynch, Lennon, Hartz, Stallard and Smith) with just the BUCS National 8s tournament in Bristol and Derby Day left as competitive fixtures this season. UEA’s women travel to Stowe School this week for a friendly in preparation for those games.
Captain Sutton reflected: ‘It was really good. We did better than when we went down there for the cup game, which was our benchmark.
‘It took us about ten minutes to get going, but when we started scoring it was fine.’
‘It was a very defensive teamsheet. I set it up so the defence would sub in and somebody would bump up [to midfield]. It was nice to have everyone rotating around the whole pitch. People got the chance to play new positions they wouldn’t usually play.
‘The goalkeeping situation worked out quite nicely. Jemima got to play outfield, and I got a goal in our last BUCS games.’
UEA: Sutton, Rohde, Abay, Sturdy, Lynch, McMartin, Belkacem, Lennon, Hartz, Stallard, Smith, Stock, Ford, Heritage.
In other UEA Lacrosse news, the men shared the goals around in a 21-0 home friendly win against Middlesex as their Derby Day preparations amp up. Harry Harris, Seb Grant and Rob Hebden all netted their first goals of the season.
The Eagles will be holding an Easter training camp as they look to go into Derby Day in the best shape possible to bring home a double win against Essex, and offset the extra week back after Easter their rivals will get to train owing to the universities’ different holiday times.
This article first appeared in print issue 364.