Amelia Hatlapa 1In the weeks leading up to the tour, the Squad had various training sessions, with our final 48 hour session completed one day before our departure.  All our preparations had gone well and just before we began packing our kit bags, we had one last game on home soil – disaster struck – one of my lax sticks broke!  As we needed to have a matching pair of sticks at all times, a frantic phone call to UK Lacrosse luckily meant that a replacement was sent by overnight courier, arriving just before we left for the airport!

Having received all of our amazing tour kit, we were instructed to arrive at Heathrow in our England T shirts, shorts and jacket – our Head Coach is very particular about our appearance and behaviour when representing our country.

We arrived in Washington on Saturday 14th July and were driven to our hotel in Georgetown.  Having been told to stay awake on the flight, our arrival in the evening meant a normal night’s sleep and hopefully, no jet lag.  Our first training session began at 10am the next day.  Luckily we had all got used to the heat in England, but the humidity was far greater in America and we had strict instructions to stay hydrated and be covered in sun cream.

Our first match was against Chesapeake Club Lacrosse team, it was an exciting and nerve-wracking game. The final score was 6-6 which was a good result against tough opposition.  Afterwards, we had cool down sessions with Jess, our physiotherapist who is one of the most important members of our support team! Our long-term recovery included pool stretching, rehab and a great deal of painful foam rolling.

Day 3 saw our only free time and we took full advantage of this by visiting the sights of Washington: the WW2 memorial, Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jnr and Jefferson Memorials, the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument and of course, the White House which was definitely smaller than expected.  Back to the lacrosse again and our afternoon matches were against the Capital Lax Club.  I was very proud to be Captain for this match, all going well until a powerful check to the head meant I had to sub off with a massive bruise and mild concussion!  We lost the match 13-1.

On Day 4 we travelled to the University of Maryland Elite Lacrosse Camp for an intensive 3 day training programme.  The squad was split up and we each joined various groups of other college students from all over the US, all of which were so excited to meet English people.  The camp consisted of midday training sessions in the intense heat, training drills and clinics, followed by evening matches. I really enjoyed this training programme, in particular, experiencing life on a US university campus. Throughout the camp we were coached by the Maryland varsity team, whilst being closely watched and assessed by our own England coaches.

Amelia Hatlapa Team SmallOn Friday 20th July we travelled to Richmond for the Capital Cup Lacrosse Tournament – the final and most important stage of the tour. It was a 3 day event featuring 30+ teams from across the US. The tournament was a very exciting experience, the event was very official with college/university scouters in their own section, watching each game and video footage of every match. I learned a lot from this experience and was really able to get the most out of my coaches and develop my relationships with my teammates. During our group games , I was awarded MVP by my coaches, which I was very proud to have achieved.

We won all five of our group games; securing us at the top of our section leading into the knockout rounds. Day 8 was time for the Semi-finals against the Lady Laxers, it was a very tough match in unexpected circumstances due to a slightly rude and mouthy coach on the opposing team. We fought very hard but sadly lost 7-6 with the winning goal being scored on the final whistle.

The end of our tour was nearing and I certainly did not want this incredible experience to end! The squad had a final de-brief with our coaches, grabbed some last minute American food and boarded the plane. We landed at home mid-morning after an overnight flight with amazing memories, amazing friendships and really bad jet-lag.


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