On Saturday 4th February the Scotland Student Squad came together for its second fixture, travelling south again to face Newcastle University. The team was upbeat after the previous weekend’s late victory over Durham University, and hoped to better that result in Newcastle.
Despite their home advantage, Newcastle fielded only a small team, but with several of their BUCS Premier League players on the pitch, the Scots knew the opposition was not to be underestimated. The Newcastle Uni side showed their strong offence early on, putting the first point on the board after some missed opportunities from both sides. Scotland Students kept their heads up, answering quickly with a goal from Lilly Morgan (St Andrews ’19) to tie at 1-1. Captain Eleanor Kerins (Glasgow ’17) then found the back of the net, leading a flurry of goals: Imogen Jones (St Andrews ’20) scored, followed by a second Eleanor Kerins goal from a Lilly Morgan assist, and a goal from Anna Pitts-Tucker (St Andrews ’20) took the score to 5-1.
Newcastle Uni had several spells of possession in the first half, but defence fought hard to hold off some tough offensive threats. Goalie Chase Judkins (St Andrews ’19) was also on excellent form, and Newcastle Uni were unable to add to their goal during the first half.
With the half-time score at 5-1, Scotland Students were in a strong position going into the second half. Nonetheless, having themselves rallied from 5-1 down the previous week, the team was far from complacent. During the team talk led by captain Eleanor Kerins and manager Sue Maclean, the team recognised that their first-half play had not matched the energy and fight of the previous weekend’s fixture. Determined to raise the intensity and play their best lacrosse, Scotland Students returned to the pitch ready to give it their all.
But Newcastle Uni also stepped up their game. The second half saw the hosts finally manage to capitalise on their possession, taking the first points after the restart and finding the back of the net on a further three occasions. The goalie and defenders thwarted several more Newcastle Uni offensive attempts, with particular mention to some excellent tackles from Iona Urquhart (Glasgow ’17) and Rosie Hazell (Stirling ’20) with a spectacular interception.
The opposition’s goals didn’t go unanswered, with Mollie Maclean (Aberdeen ’20) scoring twice in the second half and Anna Pitts-Tucker finding the back of the net again. Imogen Jones found space in front of the goal, received a feed from Lilly Morgan and scored, before Lilly added Scotland Students’ tenth goal. The final whistle blew with the score at Scotland Students 10-5 Newcastle University.
Reflecting on the game, Captain Eleanor Kerins said:
“Last weekend’s game against Durham was definitely a tougher match and it took us some time to feel like we had that same level of intensity back in our game against Newcastle. We had a strong first half and a healthy lead by half time, but definitely found our form after our wake up call in the second half, after a few goals from Newcastle. Upping our marking and communication in the midfield got us back on track as we were able to capitalise on some great defensive interceptions to increase our lead. We agreed to leave everything on the pitch in the last half and I think the score line shows that everyone came out and played their best lacrosse, with great team work from both attack and defence units.”
It has certainly been a successful first season for the newly re-formed Scotland Students Squad, creating a strong platform for future years. Under the brilliant leadership of manager and coach Sue Maclean, players from five different universities, from freshers to fifth years, came together and demonstrated the skill, dedication and camaraderie of university lacrosse in Scotland. Eleanor added:
“All of the girls who represented the squad over the last two weekends are great role models for their clubs and should be really proud of how they played! Overall, playing for Scottish Universities has been a great experience and we all hope to see it continue in the future after its success. Hopefully more girls will be inspired to trial after seeing their friends play this year. Again, a big thank you goes to Sue Maclean for coaching and organising us, as without her such a fantastic experience wouldn't have been possible.”
#1 Chase Judkins, St Andrews ‘19
#8 Nadia Morris, Strathclyde ‘19
#10 Rosie Hazell, Stirling ‘20
#15 Iona Urquhart, Glasgow ‘17
#22 Emily Fletcher, St Andrews ‘18
#3 Mollie Maclean, Aberdeen ’20 (2)
#16 Leah McLardie, Stirling ‘17
#17 Lara Olszenka, Stirling ‘17
#21 Eleanor Kerins, Glasgow ’17 (2)
#4 Grace Collison-Owen, St Andrews ‘17
#5 Imogen Jones, St Andrews ’20 (2)
#7 Anna Pitts-Tucker, St Andrews ’20 (2)
#9 Lilly Morgan, St Andrews ’19 (2)
#12 Alice Buchanan-Smith, Aberdeen ‘19
Scotland Students 10-5 Newcastle University