The Lady Eagles had a tremendous regular season going 5-2 and winning the Eastern Regional Tournament in June. This past weekend we headed to the USAFL Nationals in Racine Wisconsin to close out our season.
The Lady Eagles played in Division II on a combined team with the Boston Demons and the Des Moines Roosters. We began the weekend with a chilly morning game against the Calgary Kookaburras (combined with Arizona Lady Hawks, North Star Blue Ox, and Nashville Kangaroos). The first half was a little slow for the Lady Eagles, as we learned to work together as a combined team and communicate with one another to move the ball up the field. We began to feel more comfortable as the game wore on and played stronger in the second half. It was a very defensive game, with our back line and midfield working hard to keep the ball out of the goal. In the end, we ultimately fell to the Kookaburras.
As we continued to gel as a team, we felt more confident going into our afternoon game against our Eastern foes, the Columbus Cats combined with the Philadelphia Hawks and Chicago Swans. The Cats struck first but Kristin scored our first point of the tournament with a behind. Lough continued our scoring with two goals of her own. However, some costly penalties led to good scoring opportunities for the Cats, who came away with the win in the end. It was a hard fought match on both sides and we were proud of the team effort that we put in on day 1 of Nationals.
The Lady Eagles continued their Nationals Tournament with a very early game on Sunday morning against the Texas Heat combined with Los Angeles Dragons and Oklahoma. The Lady Eagles struck first with two behinds by Kristin and later two more by Kendall and Lough, but were unable to capitalize on these scoring chances and kick a goal. We competed well and played strong in the defensive end. The backline led by Christina and Tatiana played particularly well allowing only one goal and a behind. However, that proved to be enough for the win.
Our last game of the tournament was against a very strong side that combined two teams previously in Division I, the Sacramento Suns and the Montreal Angels. The Suns dominated the game, with the ball rarely leaving our defensive end. Our defense and midfield were relentless nonetheless, working hard to prevent further scoring opportunities and clear the ball into the forward 50. Despite a solid effort, we fell to the Suns.
Even though our Nationals did not go as we had hoped, it was still an awesome time. We were able to cheer the Baltimore Dockers to their first Division IV Nationals Championship in our first year as a club, which was amazing! We also had a great Silly Sunday celebrating the season and the Dockers’ Championship throughout the night in Milwaukee.
I could not be prouder of this Lady Eagles team as I reflect back on this 2018 USAFL season. We came together as a team and grew stronger with each game. We fielded 14-16+ players at almost every game, which was incredible. It has been so great to watch the women’s team grow over the past few years. Our Eastern Regional Championship (and celebrating the win in Philly), was of course the highlight of the season, really demonstrating the skill, talent, heart, and tenacity of our team. I cannot wait to see what the Lady Eagles do next year, as we continue to get better and stronger this offseason!
Thanks for supporting the women this year and stay tuned for 2019!