Cambridge sit second in the table with a game in handAngus Parker

Talk about sticking it to the opposition. Cambridge University Women’s Lacrosse Club (CUWLC) recorded their sixth win in a row on Wednesday lunchtime by crushing Cardiff 19-2 at St John’s College Sports Ground.

Half of the eight different scorers for Cambridge, Katie Lehovsky, Erica Wallace, Tori Molloy and Amelia Miller, completed hat-tricks, helping the Light Blues extend their perfect record so far this season in style.

Despite a strangely sloppy opening, Cambridge began to stretch their Welsh counterparts towards the end of the first quarter and led 7-1 at half-time. It was in the third quarter when their quality really showed, as they relaxed into their lacrosse and slotted home nine goals, setting up what could be a league-deciding encounter next week with Oxford.

Cardiff crossed the border without four players who were prominent in the reverse fixture last month, where Cambridge trailed at the interval before edging an 11-9 victory. The newly-promoted side were in fine form, however, having won away to Bath in their most recent outing.

Perhaps with half an eye on their Varsity rivals, the Light Blues also tried to manage their injuries, as Julie Wise sat out the first half and vice-captain Ella Benson watched on for much of the second due to respective knee and groin niggles. Yet, their main focus was building confidence and goal difference ahead of a visit from the Other Place.

Cambridge looked eager to impose themselves at the start, but they struggled to retain possession and it finally took some tough defending from Miller, the skipper, and Benson to gain a grip on an end-to-end first 10 minutes. Once Sophie Tamblyn, a St Catharine’s Fresher, had found the breakthrough, though, the goals kept Tamblyn in. Two from Wallace, the Player of the Match, either side of the first from Molloy rounded off a frantic first period which already hit the visitors hard.

Wise, one of the co-captains from last season, expressed her pride at how smoothly all three of the early goalscorers have settled into their maiden university campaign. “Coming into a Blues team as a fresher is really intimidating, but today and last week, our freshers have stepped up competed brilliantly under pressure,” the attacker said afterwards.

Tamblyn and Wallace received their first call-ups to the senior England squad this autumn after moving up from the under-19 team. Along with Miller, Lehovsky and Wise, they feature among five Blues hoping to represent their country during the Home Internationals in March.

Eight different players scored for CUWLCAngus Parker

Cardiff competed well in the middle of the park and bookended half-time with two of only eight goals that Cambridge have conceded at home this term. Still, such strength in depth eventually proved too much for the second-from-bottom club, who have failed to beat the Light Blues in the seven matches between these teams since 2011.

Cambridge still had a gear or three to shift up and tried to change from running races to slick passing transitions as the game progressed. The variation was evident in the evolution from the fifth goal, straight from the draw by Miller, who was simply far too fast for Cardiff, to the sixth, scored by Tamblyn following a give-and-go. Lehovsky, the experienced centre, notched her first of the afternoon with five minutes left in the second quarter, bringing her mix of skill and composure to the fray.

The action abounded after the break as Molloy and Lehovsky checked the Cardiff goals by doubling their personal tallies. Bridget Shaffrey, an MPhil student from Virginia, scored her first goal shortly afterwards, before Lehovsky, lovingly known as ‘Lehov’, launched the move of the match, single-handedly turning defence into attack to make it 13-2.

Miller and her team-mates had set the ambitious target going into the game of scoring 15 goals and securing a double-digit winning margin, and the onslaught on the 40-minute mark sealed the deal. After Wise and Shaffrey returned to the scoresheet, Wallace clinched her third of the day for a 16-2 lead with the final play of a thrilling third quarter.

“It was a great team performance,” said Wallace, a Jesus student. “We were really happy to get such a high score as it was much closer when we played them away. The standard in this league is incredibly high and matches tend to get feistier than they were at school, but our team is more than capable of coping and I’m really enjoying my lacrosse here.”

Both sides were understandably tired towards full-time after some fast, liquid lacrosse, and visibility dropped as the shadows of Westminster College and the University Library cast a dark hue over the ground.

The home goalkeeper Helen Gildersleeves handled the conditions to execute her fifth vital save of the match, with Cardiff surging forwards in search of consolation goals. Talia Smithers became the fourth fresher to score as Cambridge countered, before Molloy and Miller laid the final blows as the game quietly drew to a close, capping a ruthless display.

Cambridge (goals): Helen Gildersleeves, Ella Benson, Lottie Paterson, Tori Malloy (3), Erica Wallace (3), Amelia Miller (3), Katie Lehovsky (3), Sophie Tamblyn (2), Olivia Cox, Talia Smithers (1), Lara Dillingham, Bridget Shaffrey (2), FM Gardner, Julie Wise (2), Angharad Thomas

Sponsored links