@SU University of Bath (Lacrosse)

Women’s 1 Lacrosse Team Comfortably Overcomes Cambridge

As the sun came out this Wednesday afternoon, the women’s lacrosse first team welcomed Cambridge for what was anticipated to be a highly competitive game. On paper, these two teams were evenly matched. Bath came into this game with a record of 2 wins and 2 losses this season, but after a good performance last week away against Exeter, and despite the result, the team were confident they could get the job done. 

This confidence was clear from the get-go, scoring 3 unanswered goals in the first 8 minutes, with the 3rd being a particularly good team goal on the counter, resulting in Izzy Sale finishing it off well. 

We didn’t have to wait long for a fourth after some excellent build-up play accompanied by great movement on and off the ball, leading to Sianna Barling taking the chance and grabbing her second goal of the first quarter. 

Cambridge, who hadn’t been short of chances thus far thanks to solid defensive play led by Izzy Sankey and Liv Scarles, finally took their chance, bringing the score to 4-1. 

Soon after, Cambridge had another opportunity, but the Bath keeper and captain, Larrissa Gaunt, made a splendid save, not letting them get within touching distance of Bath’s score. A Cambridge penalty going wide on the stroke at the end of the first quarter meant Bath led 4-1. 

Cambridge came out firing after the break, helped by a lapse in judgement resulting in a back-pass own goal, bringing the score to 4-2. They then came close moments after to make it a 1-score game, but again Guant made a great save keeping Cambridge outside touching distance. 

When Beccy Smith scored on the counter, a weapon which Bath used time and time again to great effect during the game, Bath seemed to compose themselves with the score at 5-2. Again, it was Smith who created the opportunity with great ball control for Bath’s 6th goal and finished with great composure by Louise Kiely. 

Despite the score, Cambridge didn’t stop chasing the game by bombarding the Bath defence, who held firm to keep Cambridge out. Cambridge also failed to make the most of good chances, after a good crash by Bath stopped a Cambridge penalty on the stroke of half-time, leaving the score at 6-2. 

A quick transition by Bath into a strong counter after half-time with Smith assisting the Woman of the Match, Ella Entwistle, further extended their lead. It wasn’t soon before Smith got her second goal with a brilliant finish bringing the score to 8-2 and shutting down the game. 

Not disheartened, Cambridge got a 3rd goal after capitalising on an uncharacteristic defensive Bath error. But soon after, the status quo was restored and Bath made it 9-3 after a brilliant assist from Barling, opening the space up for Smith to score yet again. Although Cambridge, who were looking slightly more clinical in front of goal than they were in the first half, responded with a goal of their own. 

Whilst the lead was unassailable by this point, in the later stages of the 3rd quarter Bath did not take their foot off the gas with Kiely scoring a great solo goal, highlighting her ability as she carved through the deflated Cambridge defence. Sale and Smith, who had bossed the middle of the park all game also linked up nicely and put their chemistry to good use with Smith finishing it off: 11-4 to Bath with only one quarter left to play. 

Yet again the Bath counter was clinical, extending the lead to 12-4. A penalty for Cambridge was the best they could do in response, meaning the game ended 12-5. 

This was a comfortable win from the Bath Women’s 1, a team that looks to have clicked. United in defence, they put up with lots of pressure on the pitch. In their attack they were fluid with dynamic movement and direct passing – Cambridge, however spirited, was never going to stop them. 

Speaking to Vice-Captain Izzy Sale after the game, she highlighted this unity, saying that the girls rallied well, performing the best they have this season against a tough opposition who kept the game honest. She credited the defence for holding firm the whole game and said this was a result which will provide them with the momentum they will need for the rest of the season. 

Next week they will play another match on their home turf, welcoming Oxford. It will be another tough game, but after Wednesday’s performance, the ladies will feel as though they can get a result – they are a team that is growing in confidence, getting better and better each week.

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