Westonbirt 16 year old, Isabelle, has had an extremely impressive summer of sporting achievements and experiences. Here she tells her own story of playing international level lacrosse during the school holidays.
USA Trip 1
As soon as school finished I was off to the United States accompanied by my Dad to take part in a lacrosse camp at Vermont University in Burlington. Three days of hard training and drills (in what was their hottest summer for many years) was draining. After a couple of days rest in the White Mountains I played for my American team Mass Elite in the Extreme Lax tournament in Groton, Boston. That really was hot! There were water breaks, girls being taken to hospital and searing temperatures even in the shade. We lost in the semifinal to Granite State, but I continued to make great friends from all over the US.
USA England Tour
Back to the UK for a week or so and then off to the US again, this time with England U19 squad. There was a squad of 40 and I was selected for the 1st team. First up was a couple of practice matches in Washington which we drew 6-6 and won 8-6.
It was then on to Maryland University for a 3 day training camp playing alongside many of the best lacrosse players in the US. It entailed early starts and late finishes but the lacrosse and setting was amazing. It was here that I was awarded the fastest shot of the camp at 63mph!
Next it was down to Richmond Virginia for the real test at The Capital Cup which saw nearly 5,000 girls from all over the US playing hours of lacrosse over four days. Again, searing heat, this time over 37 degrees coupled with huge thunderstorms to keep us on our toes! We won all of our 4 group games which then took us onto the semifinal against New Zealand U19. A very tense game which saw us win 8-7. The crowd was great as many people had stayed to watch this game.
The final was against a New York team ‘Isthaca’. Another tense highly fought game which saw us lose 7-6. This tour was such a great experience for me and helped me improve my overall game.
I returned home for a few days and then off to Katawice in Poland for the U20 European Lacrosse Championships. Ten days of absolute intensity which saw the US trip taken to a new level. It also involved us watching video analysis of opponents. An ice bath after every game certainly wasn’t the highlight of my summer but a great experience!
A good start was a convincing win against Germany, who were a very good test for us as they were strong in attack.
As a team, we secured relatively straightforward wins against Poland, where I scored my first England goal! Then a match against Israel followed by finally playing Wales. We were expecting a much tougher game but we secured a convincing win in the end. The final game was against the Czech Republic, who has also won all of their games to date. A very tough match against some very talented and strong players as some were already at University. We won a convincing 17-2 against the Czech due to a very strong offense and defense.
The semifinal against Germany proved a little closer than the group game but again the defense gave the platform for England to unleash their unbelievable attack. The speed and skill we had on display was awesome.
The final was another close affair against the Czechs who opened the scoring. Gradually England imposed themselves on the game and came out as clear winners.
I am immensely proud of being part of the England U19 team and to have won the European Championships is the highlight of my playing career to date. I hope that I can pass on as much as I can to my Westonbirt team in order to bring us up to a Championship team and to repay some of the opportunities that the school have given me to achieve this level of sport.
The World Cup is next year in Canada and competition for places is going to get fierce. There are training weekends virtually every month until next August, and another playing tour to America again at Easter. I will be working my absolute hardest to make sure that I have every chance of being on that plane to Canada!
By Isabelle, Y12.
(Photos courtesy of Carl Gustafson)