Department of Sport

University of Nottingham Lacrosse land the 2022 BUCS National Lacrosse Championship

 

Women's LAX BBW'22

This 2022 BUCS Big Wednesday Women’s Lacrosse final was set to be one of the standout fixtures of the whole event, with the two best teams in the country, the University of Nottingham and University of Durham, facing off against each other on the 3G pitch at David Ross Sports Village. The two teams came into this contest having already played each other twice this year in pulsating fixtures. One of these fixtures ended in a draw where Durham equalised in the last twenty seconds, whilst the other saw the University of Nottingham Women’s team become the first team to beat Durham since the 2013/14 season, as they came away with a two-point victory. These results gave the #GreenandGold belief against the reigning champions that they could topple them once again and end the season unbeaten against their rivals. However, this would be the first final appearance for the programme against a university programme known for success.

Boasting several under 23 Internationals, as well as American scholars with experience of NCAA Division I lacrosse, the University of Nottingham squad had the experience top handle the big occasion in front of their home fans. Head Coach Michael Armstrong remarked before the match that it would be a “great game between the top two women’s sides in UK university lacrosse.”

University of Nottingham Squad: 1. Dylan Whittington, 10. Emily Thompson, 4. Roberta Lack, 21. Juliet Banks, 19. Alex McCaldon, 77. Izzy Brand, 69. Clio Kerr, 14. Pippa Lloyd, 97. Michelle Seger, 99. Emma Savage, 13. Fi Fletcher, 9. Izzy Cloke, 31. Kate O’Dwyer, 25. Alex Cant, 30. Emily Vervlied, 8. Emma Marsland, 12. Anna Boyne, 96. Anya Devon-Berry.

BUCS Women's Championship

This showpiece match had the setting it deserved, taking place on a beautiful evening as the sun went down on David Ross Sports Centre. Before the match, both teams huddled together for one last rallying cry before taking their positions for the start of the match, in front of a packed out crowd. Durham took an early hold of possession before testing Whittington in the Nottingham goal who stood tall and made two excellent saves to start the match. Nottingham then had their first real possession of the match and forced a save of their own from the Durham keeper in what was already shaping up to be a really enticing encounter. 

It was Durham who took the lead just after they had hit the post with some sustained pressure on the Nottingham goal, however Emily Vervlied didn't take long to get Nottingham back on level terms with a sweeping shot past the Durham keeper. The first goal for the #GreenandGoal gave Nottingham confidence and they began to camp in the Durham area before Alex Cant took control of the ball and gave Nottingham their first lead. 

However, Durham would continue to pressure the Nottingham defence and would take the lead back at 3-2 in this enthralling back-and-forth contest. In the closing minutes of the first quarter, Durham threatened to extend their lead but Whittington was equal to what was thrown at her once again, with the quarter ending at 3-2 to the visitors.

Durham would take the ball to start the second quarter, but the Nottingham defence stood strong as the White shirts of Durham attacked the middle of their goal. Following their goal line defensive stand Nottingham had a goal ruled out, before Whittington made another brilliant point blank save to keep the quarter scoreless and still 3-2 to Durham for the match. It didn’t stay that way for too long as Alex Cant scored her second of the match to tie it up at 3 apiece, before Michelle Seger took the ball to the left of the Durham goal, weaved inside, and placed a shot into the top corner to put Nottingham ahead once again. Following brilliant, sustained pressure on the opposition goal Nottingham hit the post, but it looked as though Durham had a goal ruled out and Whittington once again stood tall in the Nottingham goal. Moments later Emily Thompson made a huge run through the middle of the field and the ball was once again in the Durham net to give Nottingham a gap to Durham at 5-3. This was extended to 6-3 with a ferocious free possession shot by Emma Savage as the #GreenandGold built momentum towards half time, with Whittington pulling off more heroics to keep the score 6-3 at the break.

The second half and third quarter began with the University of Nottingham players taking coach Mike Armstrong’s half time encouragement to finish their chances on board, with Fi Fletcher scoring with the first shot of the half after a beautiful assist from Vervlied, making it 7-3. Durham knew they needed a response and came up with one, pulling a goal back to 7-4, but a well worked set play between Alex Cant and Fi Fletcher made it a 5 point game once again.

Durham pressed to get back in the game, but simply could not find a way past Whittington who was beginning to make a strong case for player of the match. Clio Kerr then drew a foul and a yellow card for Durham, giving Nottingham a player advantage for two minutes, and Izzy Cloke made Durham pay almost immediately to make it 9-4. With the player advantage, Nottingham probed the Durham area but could not find another before Durham were restored to full strength. Once back to having parity in numbers, Durham got a goal back for 9-5 but Seger found space to the left of the opposition goal and fired low to make it double figures for Nottingham, ending the third quarter at 10-5 to Nottingham.

Going into the final period, the #GreenandGold knew that if they continued to control the pace of the match as they had, they would be BUCS Champions. However, nerves surely began to kick in a little, especially when Nottingham were reduced in numbers after a yellow card. Durham inexplicably returned the favour though with a yellow card of their own to even the numbers almost immediately.

Once both teams were back to full strength, Nottingham worked the ball and the clock, draining time with possession of the ball. Keeping the ball deep in the Durham half, the ball eventually found its way to Vervlied who blasted past Durham defenders and slotted home a crucial goal, putting Nottingham 11-5 up. Durham now had a mountain to climb and if Nottingham could continue to control the clock, it was looking likely that they would be raising the trophy in front of their fans. When Clio Kerr took the ball centrally and drove into the area before firing the ball into the net to make it 12-5, it looked all but over.

Despite a late fightback from Durham, Nottingham had a lead of 12-7 when the clock hit zero’s and with that the #GreenandGold were crowned BUCS Champions, sparking jubilant scenes on the field!

Speaking after the match, University of Nottingham Head Coach Mike Armstrong said,

"We exectuted the gameplan which is the most important thing. Defensively we were really strong and in the second half we took our chances."

MVP Emily Vervlied said "It was a huge team effort and were so incredibly proud. "Mike [Armstrong] has been one of the best coaches I've had because he's believed in us all the way through. We're delighted with this result."

Final result: University of Nottingham 12-7  Durham University

BUCS MVP: Emily Vervlied


For more information on Performance Lacrosse at the University of Nottingham, please click here.

You can watch the full match back via the live stream here.

Posted on Wednesday 23rd March 2022

University of Nottingham Sport

David Ross Sports Village
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 74 87000
email: sport@nottingham.ac.uk