Field lines drawn with flour and lightning fast runs behind the goal – this is lacrosse at its best. The Rotterdam Jaguars ladies’ team showed off just these skills last Sunday, beating league No. 3 Tilburg Lacrosse with 16-7 at the Woudestein Sports Complex.
The LadyJags’ phenomenal 6-1 goal in the first half was characteristic of their style. After the students retrieved the ball on their own half of the pitch, they scored a goal following a rapid-fire run and a perfect long pass.
‘Hockey and basketball’
According to the Jaguars’ coach and player, Naomi van der Vuurst (21, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences), this is what distinguishes lacrosse from other sports: speed. She describes the sport as, among other things, “a mixture of hockey and basketball”. The objective is for players, armed with sticks with mesh nets attached to them, to throw a hard rubber ball, which is roughly the same size as a tennis ball, into their opponents’ goal.
The LadyJags were the best at this game last Sunday, despite the fact that several of their players were absent due to sickness. After getting off to a rough start, during which Tilburg’s goalie frequently got in their way, the Jags took a five-goal lead.
Immediately after the break Tilburg scored a goal for 8-4. The team’s fans briefly fantasised about a comeback, but Rotterdam never gave up its significant lead. After a sixty-minute game, the final score was 16-7.
The moment the game was over, twenty Rotterdam fans started singing songs about winning the league. However, the ladies’ team is currently ranked second, trailing Delft by one point, with three matches still to be played. If they come second, they will be entitled to contest the play-offs, which will determine whom will be promoted to lacrosse’s top league. The students are not yet sure they will transfer to the First Division if they win the play-offs. “The gap between the two leagues is quite significant,” said Van der Vuurst. “But we will go above and beyond to win the league.”
The Jaguars received some welcome publicity in January, when Feyenoord manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst said that his son Joshua wanted to join the club. “He is always welcome to come and have a look, but so far we haven’t seen him,” said Van der Vuurst. For the time being, “Gio” is probably too busy preparing for Feyenoord’s impending Premiership title celebration.