By Grace Mackie
The 2013 ASPAC competition was officially opened today, with all teams gathering at the Stadium of National Olympics Sports Centre here in Beijing for the opening ceremony this morning. Both men and women from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the United States stood behind their nation’s flag as national anthems were sung and various welcome speeches were made. The sun was beaming down and the humidity seemed high as our girls were becoming slightly restless, before an entertaining performance by ‘Chinese Lions‘ were put on display. Bright in colour and full of energy; the dancing, jumping and leaping dragons proved as an amusing act and portrayed traditional Chinese culture, fitting to the ceremony. Running slightly behind schedule, we bustled back to the hotel to have a quick feed before heading off to our first game against Korea!
An early and taxing start to the day was becoming evident on our attitudes, for the lack of intensity and excitement was worrying, especially considering this was our first game. The sun had thankfully hidden behind the clouds and a nice cool breeze took its place, so we knew the weather wasn’t going to be as much of a struggle compared to previous matches in sunny Tokyo. Ian lead an upbeat warm up, as did Sachi and Bec in our stick drills though nothing seemed to pump us up, and we all seemed drained and exhausted. Two minutes before game time, our captains Charlotte and Bec L gave us a bit of a wakeup call – after all we were representing our country!
The game started off well with our girls scoring 3 goals in the first 5 minutes, though Bec pointed out that our attack wasn’t the well-structured, team-working set up we had wanted to play. After a short discussion during time out we went back to playing our style of lacrosse, which demonstrated immense team work, lengthy amounts of controlled possession and fast ball movement – something the sideline supporters found impressive.
Throughout the game, we found our defense was slightly lazy. Instead of applying good body pressure which we had practiced at trainings, we were chasing sticks and dropping our level of play. Even though we improved this throughout the game, the girls agree that this is definitely something we can work on to improve our future games.
Our attack on the other hand was on fire, with drives from the top of the fan, speedy cuts, fast breaks and settled plays all being a part of our game. Occasionally we would forget that we didn’t need to continuously take shots or make those extra-long passes considering we were winning by a fair margin, but for the most part we really worked hard for each other and the result showed that.
With over 5 main goal scorers in attack and an uncountable amount of ‘turn-arounds’ in defense, our team work was incredible, and I think we learnt a lot about each player’s individual styles of play and how we can adapt to them in order to benefit the team as a whole.
A blistering finish of 23 – 5 showed that we are here to play awesome lacrosse, and we are definitely ready to get back on the field for our match on Sunday.