After finishing runners-up to Waikato rivals Cambridge High School in each of the past two years, the Epsom Girls’ Grammar team were celebrating their maiden NZSS Girls Lacrosse title at Whangaparoa over this past weekend.
Year 13 player and attacker Nikki Fordyce spoke about the team’s weekend. “After our previous second placed finishes, our goal was to win and it was awesome for us to take it out the first time,” said Nikki who was also the MVP in the final.
The final against Cambridge HS was tense and tight. “We won 9-8 so it was a close result. We were winning by 9-3 at one stage, before they came back after halftime and ended up coming back but we still held on for the win.”
In the semi-final they beat their close Auckland rivals Mount Roskill Grammar School, after winning all three pool games on day one. In fact EGGS were unbeaten all year.
“We played in the Auckland league every Thursday and also in a regional tournament where we played a lot of quick-fire games against everyone. We won both, and we were undefeated in all our games the whole season.”
Nikki and Caitlin Dellow are the co-captains of a team of mixed ages. “We have a got a good base of players with younger players and seniors all playing together.”
Many of the EGGS players are also Auckland senior and age grade provincial and New Zealand players.
Nikki recently played in the New Zealand Women’s Team that finished eighth out of 25 teams at the Women’s World Cup in Guildford, England. Next up is the World U19 Championships in Canada in two years, with New Zealand currently ranked fifth at U19 level.
Nikki has her sights set on making the U19 national side. She has been playing lacrosse since year 9, and has a background in football, while her grandmother is a former captain of the New Zealand Women’s hockey team.
As well as playing for New Zealand teams, there are scholarship opportunities in American universities where the sport is played competitively at college level.
Nikki’s year 12 EGGS teammate and specialist midfielder Harriet Overend, also in the recent Women’s World Cup team, has already secured her future with a scholarship already in place when she leaves school at Villanova University in Philadelphia and has already been over there several times to train and play.
The tools of the trade for a lacrosse player their goggles and lacrosse stick, while mouthguards are essential in a high energy, competitive game, that is officially a non-contact sport in the female game. “In the lead-up to the World Cup, we had a few girls with concussion, and you get a lot of bruises on your arm,” said Harriet.
As well as lacrosse Harriet is also an equestrian rider and has played football as well. Like Nikki she has also been playing lacrosse since she started EGGS in year 9.
Both Nikki and Harriet said one of the secrets to their success is their head coach Rosie Gunn, who was the Assistant Coach at the recent World Cup coach and the recently appointed New Zealand U19 Head coach.
Both are in the Auckland team. “Nikki and I have both played for the Auckland senior women’s team for the last two years, and earlier this year we won.”
The growth of women’s lacrosse in New Zealand has largely been in Waikato and Auckland, but Hariett said it is expanding. “There is a Wellington U18 team coming to our upcoming tournament, while some girls from up north are bringing the game to Canterbury, “added Harriet.
The Epsom Girls Grammar lacrosse squad that won the NZSS tournament was:
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