Loughborough Lacrosse vs MIT
A gloriously sunny Sunday welcomed the first Trans Atlantic Varsity Match at Loughborough University with our Loughborough Lacrosse Ladies facing the prestigiously strong opposition from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The suspense that had been building up to the day where Loughborough University Lacrosse Women’s 1s faced Massachusetts Institute of Technology was slowly coming to an end as the time ticked down to the opening of Loughborough’s first Trans-Atlantic varsity show-down. The atmosphere within the stadium was quickly building as the VIP guests arrived for their pre-match meeting with Vice Chancellor Bob Allison. Among the people present were our VP President Rob Whittaker, and VP Sport Steffan Lloyd, who were donning a rather garish but incredibly appealing purple blazer lavished in pink and white striped trimmings and sporting the Loughborough Sport logo, redefining the sense of ‘purple pride’. As VC Bob and the representative from MIT gave their speeches to our guests the Loughborough and MIT girls came onto the field to begin warming up before play began at 4:30pm. The crowd poured into the stadium’s grounds, each spectator claiming their specialized game day tees and that much-awaited free burger for the first 250 people through the gates. With 1,000 tshirts ready and waiting, no one was expecting the sheer crowd we received as 1,500 hit on the ticker; purple plastering the grounds of the stadium and an atmosphere amounting. Dave Rogers from Alan March Ltd was the host for the afternoon, and as the players were practicing their face offs and penalty shots, he announced both teams name by name with the roar of the crowd being felt by all as the Loughborough girls were introduced before making their way through the athlete tunnel to the changing rooms to prepare for their return.
At 4:15pm all went silent as the flag bearers led the procession of the athletes onto the pitch for the singing of the national anthems. Loughborough Students Union’s singing society ‘Sing!’ gave a breathtaking performance as they sang in front of the big crowd, impressing everyone with their talent and professionalism as they welcomed the international students to the stadium. Once the music ended the players collected with their coaches to prepare for the whistle to be blown, and as the pitch was cleared all were watching and waiting as Emma Oakley and Lyndsy Muri stood ready for the first face off.
The game began, and MIT won the first draw, however Loughborough reclaimed it as MIT’s Christine Jiang dropped the ball but failed to gain any ground from their opponents as MIT defended well, gaining possession once again and charging up to their goal third to take a chance at a goal, but it is saved by Loughborough’s Cari Dwinal and possession was turned over to Loughborough. Loughborough’s Charlotte Lytollis took the ball back into the Loughborough offense and made a successful pass to Antonia Hudson who worked into the goal circle, taking a swing at the goal but narrowly missed with a high ball. Play was extremely fast paced and after a sloppy pass by Loughborough, MIT retrieved the ball from the floor and raced with it up the pitch, covering ground as they made several close passes between one another. Loughborough’s defense were working hard to keep the MIT players from entering into the goal circle, but some close stick work by the Loughborough girls awarded MIT’s Bella DiDio a penalty shot and she was successful and made the first goal of the game.
Loughborough 0 – MIT 1
At the second draw of the match Loughborough gained possession of the ball and Charlotte Lytollis once again carried the ball into the offence, passing to Naomi Reay who created a great set up for Charlotte who came through the MIT defence and launched the ball into the back of the net, equalising the score.
Loughborough 1 – MIT 1
The game continued to be fast paced, with both teams dueling for possession of the ball amongst midfield play and the girls from MIT get control of the ball and make their way down to their goal third where Bella DiDio takes a bounce shot at goal which passes Loughborough goalie, Cari Dwinal taking MIT back into the lead.
Loughborough 1- MIT 2
Three goals had been scored in less than eight minutes, it was a sensational start to the Sunday afternoon game and it was clear that both teams shared incredible talent and skill levels as we all sat or stood biting our nails at the intensity that the rivalry had brought already. MIT won the draw once again and the offensive players carried the ball up the field, the Loughborough girls chasing them hard and as captain Kira Schott took a shot at goal Loughborough’s defence put the American under pressure and she threw the ball wide, causing a turn over to Loughborough of who stormed up the pitch, Naomi Rhodes finding Antonia Hudson who dodges past MIT’s defence and scores!
Loughborough 2 – MIT 2
Little more than 11 minutes had passed as MIT called time out. As both teams ran back into position, the crowd were chanting ‘Loughborough Walks on Water’, sending chills through the stadium and spreading smiles upon the players. As they lined up for the face off both teams struggled to gain possession of the ball as it was sent to the floor, but MIT’s Devin Williams takes the ball and charges towards the Loughborough side, sending the ball across the pitch to Kira Schott who fake passes and scores through the goalies legs.
Loughborough 2 – MIT 3
The teams both reset quickly, Loughborough won the draw and started to run towards the MIT end. There was some scrappy play by both teams with the ball being juggled between Loughborough and MIT possession, but Loughborough’s Nancy Day carried the ball into the goal third passing to Charlotte Lytollis who shoots and scores.
Loughborough 3 – MIT 3
Loughborough won the draw once again; they took an immediate advantage up to their offensive players , Loughborough took a shot at goal with little defence from MIT but unfortunately it was flung wide and MIT reclaimed the ball. Loughborough defended well, putting pressure upon the MIT forwards as they went for a shot at goal narrowly missing as they too flung it wide, creating an extremely intense atmosphere within the stadium. Emma Oakley passed to Charlotte Lytollis who brought the ball up to midfield, passing to Samantha Cock who dodged past the MIT defense, took a shot and scores, incredible play from both teams.
Loughborough 4 – MIT 3
The draw was won by MIT, however an early check created a penalty pass for Loughborough of which Emma Oakley took, passing between players speedily as they approached their offensive quarter, but a poor pass from Loughborough was intercepted by MIT’s Emma Kane who raced to their goal third. MIT received a penalty due to Loughborough’s foul play, Kira Schott passed to Bella DiDio who went for the shot but it was saved by Loughborough’s Cari Dwinal sending cheers through the crowd. Loughborough took the turnover and responded immediately, sprinting to the opposing goal Nancy Day flung the ball at the goal for a bounce shot which looked over the line but the referee did not allow it, the score remaining at 4-3. However, as Loughborough reclaimed possession they were awarded a penalty as an MIT defender purposefully tripped Nancy. She took the penalty shot but it was too high, and MIT reclaimed the ball reacting quickly to the open space that Loughborough had left and after a couple of successful passes between the MIT midfielders they reached the goal line, took a shot, and made it.
Loughborough 4 – MIT 4
It wasn’t long after the shot was made that the MIT girls were once again in the position ready to take a shot at goal. Emily Young from MIT dodged past Loughborough’s defense and took a low bounce shot, which went straight to the back of the net.
Loughborough 4 – MIT 5
As they went into the last few minutes of the first half Loughborough knew they had to equalise before the whistle was blown, winning the draw Charlotte Lytollis carried the ball into Loughborough’s offence, passing to Laurie Harris who runs to the left hand side of the shooting circle, of which created an opening for Antonia Hudson who received the pass from Laurie Harris and took a shot and scored! Loughborough equalized just as the half time whistle was blown.
Loughborough 5 – MIT 5 (HT)
During the half time break, LSU VP Sport Steffan Lloyd walked onto the pitch to introduce the sporting teams from Loughborough University that will be competing in their Trophy and Championship Cup Finals on Tuesday and Wednesday in BUCS Big Wednesday. Each team received ample amounts of cheer from the crowd, and the sheer volume of people that will be competing for our prestigious University put a rather large smile upon VC Bob’s face.
As the second half began and the players poured onto the pitch the crowd were on their feet as both teams prepared for the draw. The draw was won by Loughborough and after only 15 seconds of being back on pitch Loughborough’s Charlotte Lytollis took the ball up to the goal and took a shot which hit the back of the net easily, taking Loughborough back into the lead.
Loughborough 6 – MIT 5
MIT won the draw but Loughborough was awarded a turnover after the referee noticed an early check from MIT. The Loughborough girls took the advantage quickly and as they worked up the pitch the ball is passed to Antonia Hudson who skillfully dodged past the MIT defense, Antonia took a shot at goal and made it.
Loughborough 7 – MIT 5
Loughborough won the draw once again, taking the ball up the pitch quickly with the pace of the game remaining fast and Loughborough’s Charlotte Lytollis took a chance at a bounce shot, which was successful, increasing the Loughborough lead.
Loughborough 8 – MIT 5
MIT needed to alter their strategies in order to break Loughborough’s lead, but that wasn’t needed as Loughborough’s Laurie Harris was given a yellow card due to a dangerous check. MIT made some great passes to one another, but it was intercepted by Emma Oakley as they took a shot at goal. MIT regain possession and as they took another attempt at a goal a penalty is awarded to MIT for close defending by Nancy Day, which is missed but quickly regained by Katie Notarangelo who scores.
Loughborough 8 – MIT 6
MIT increased the pace of their own play as they won the draw and little passes were made but ground was made by MIT’s Bella DiDio and she fake passes, turning back on the Loughborough defence and passes the ball straight through the goalie to the back of the net. MIT closed in upon the Loughborough advantage.
Loughborough 8 – MIT 7
Scrappy play by Loughborough resulted in MIT making good ground toward a minimally defended goal as the Loughborough players charged up from midfield to be too little too late as Kira Schott found the ground and the ball rolled over the line.
Loughborough 8 – MIT 8
Everyone within the stadium was on the edge of their seats as ‘Time Out’ was taken by Loughborough. After a couple of minutes of regrouping, Loughborough were welcomed by another ‘Loughborough Walks on Water’ chant of which seemed to give them the motivation they needed as they won the face off and passes between players were successful, short and safe, reaching Nancy Day who found the goal and scores.
Loughborough 9 – MIT 8
The following draw put Loughborough’s Samantha Cock on the floor, and after discussion between the referees it was decided that it was to Loughborough’s fault that the draw was broken down and therefore the penalty was awarded to MIT. MIT failed to make much ground as Loughborough’s Natasha Reynoldson, who took the ball up to the advantage, picked up a weak pass by their midfielder but the shot was taken wide and the possession was turned over. After some excellent midfield play between both teams, MIT remained in possession and stormed towards their goal, making the shot successfully.
Loughborough 9 – MIT 9
MIT took early possession from the draw, and within the MIT offence, Loughborough’s Charlotte Lytollis made a detrimental attack and a yellow card was given. MIT’s Ashley Masucci took the penalty shot and the ball flung straight to the back of the net, MIT took the lead once again.
Loughborough 9 – MIT 10
Loughborough took possession back after a successful draw but it was quickly retrieved by the MIT side as Nancy Day missed an unfortunate shot at goal. MIT quickly worked the ball back up to their offense and after dodging past three players, Bella DiDio took a chance and was awarded another goal for MIT, increasing their lead.
Loughborough 9 – MIT 11
With only a few minutes left on the clock it was looking like everything was lost for Loughborough, but as the time ticked down the home side were not affected by the pressure, and after a successful draw the ball was taken up the pitch by the Loughborough girls in faultless passes. All felt the tightness of the game and a fault by MIT’s Kira Schott within the scoring circle resulted in a yellow card, it couldn’t have come at a better time for Loughborough. Charlotte Lytollis took the penalty shot which was saved by MIT’s Stephanie Pavlick, but after a poor pass out, Charlotte once again had the ball in her possession and took another shot at goal which was successful and the roar from the crowd confirmed that the goal was made.
Loughborough 10 – MIT 11
Tensions were high at the stadium, and silence fell upon the pitch as Loughborough took the advantage after a successful draw, once again sprinting up to the goal third. MIT struggled to make successful contact with Loughborough’s sticks and as Samantha Cock flung the ball at the goal the crowd jumped up in awe as it went over the line, equalising the score between two outstanding teams.
Loughborough 11 – MIT 11
No one was aware of how long the players had left before the 60th minute hit, and as the players faced to check, vibrations were felt through the stadium. Loughborough took possession and raced to their offensive third, the atmosphere was breathtaking within the grounds and as the ball was passed to Charlotte Lytollis, screams were sent through the crowd as Loughborough supporters jumped to their feet as the referee signaled Loughborough had scored. The final whistle was blown and everyone was jumping, screaming, singing in jubilation. The Loughborough girls had done it; they had won our first ever Trans-Atlantic varsity match against Massachusetts Institute of Technology and god did it feel good! The scoreboard displayed the final score of Loughborough 12 – MIT 11, an incredible display of both skill and talent was shown by all players, it was a marvel to watch.
Huge congratulations to Loughborough Ladies Lacrosse who made all us here at Loughborough extremely proud!
We wish you the best of luck for Wednesday against Durham in the Championship Cup Final.
For those of us in LSU Media, the day began with an early 10am set up due to full coverage being transmitted Live from the stadium to our online website, and with much thanks to our prestigious media members the format for the pre, during, and post match footage was looking incredibly professional, well done team.
Big thanks should be given to Dave Rogers and his team from Alan March Sports Ltd who helped with the Sports Presentation for the event, along with all the volunteers that dedicated their time to putting on what everyone will agree with was an outstanding experience for all that were watching and playing.
By Imogen Harry
Label Sports Editor