It’s five in the afternoon. Twenty high school girls are running in two lines in a steady pace down Gallison Hill Road. This is the Girls Lacrosse team’s daily team run.
After three weeks of practice, the team has only had one game because of all the snow this late in the year.
The team’s past three seasons have been great. In 2014 they won the state championship. In 2015 they lost the quarter finals in overtime and only lost a couple games all year. Last year they lost in the semifinals.
This year’s hopes of getting to the championship began with a game against D1 South Burlington.
To prepare for this first test, the team didn’t just practice game-like situations. They were working on endurance, footwork, and strength.
Bella Hayes takes a water break during a two-and -a-half-hour practice.
This means double sessions, runs, and team lift for the past two weeks.
“South Burlington usually has a pretty strong program,” said Captain Alli Wolf. “But I think if we at least play with confidence we can hold our own.”
“The most effective drill has been when we break into offense and defense because we’re really able to target those skills you need for each,” said Alli. She explained how playing 7v7 helps show the new players more game-like situations for offense and defense.
Coming into a new season with players who have different ranges of skill communication is a challenge.
“We don’t really have that vibe and intuition between us to allows us to trust each other when we pass each other ball and not to drop it,” said Bella Hayes.
“The biggest struggle will be having new goalies,” said Jenna Mekkelson. “Our defense is just going to have to be really strong this season.”
Jenna catches a high ball while the team is doing a star shooting drill.
On game day, April third, the girls went to South Burlington. For the first few minutes they were scoring and working well. Then, in the second half, South Burlington had one player who scored 6 goals. U-32 couldn’t keep up with their offense and the game ended with a 7-10 defeat.
“I thought our first seven minutes were very successful,” Jenna said. “We scored most of our goals then.”
“One thing the team could’ve done better is making better passes and coming running to the pass and not trying to catch the ball going the other way,” she said.
Alli took time to reflect on the game. “I think it is really helpful to kind of recognize what you guys did wrong and what we need to do better,” she told the team.
“One specific moment was when we got the ball back on defense, made a successful clear to the offensive zone, and lost it,” Alli explained. “Yet we fought to get the ball back and Sam was there to get the pick up.”
Alli runs up, trying to successfully clear for the team to have possession in the offensive zone.
“A moment when the team wasn’t being successful was when Emily had to make a clear, and everyone was stuck in the middle,” Alli said. She explained that they had been practicing in the gym and Civic Center: small spaces where the team wasn’t able to spread out on the field.
Alli and Bella both guarding two crucial players, girl with ball and the crease roller.
“I think individually I had a good game,” said Bella. “But I was even more proud of the team for fighting until the end.”