In our crisp white jerseys, nine players stepped onto the field to play Loyola Marymount University in what turned out to be City College women’s lacrosse team’s last game of the season.
As the warm-up music blasted through the thin layer of fog, the team was in game mode, warming up for the final chance to qualify for playoffs.
Lacrosse is a game with a full field of 12 players, including a goalie.
After our coaches quit and multiple girls magically disappeared from the team, the roster was at a whopping nine players.
The team was, at that point, held together by a passion for the game.
The odds were against Santa Barbara.
Our captain came running back after speaking with the LMU coach, bearing bad news. Their team would not be playing man-down, unlike other teams who felt for the unfortunate predicament we were in.
LMU also said “no” to a running clock.
The mindset went from “game day” to “dooms day.”
Both teams took the field and the outnumbering of the opponent’s blue jerseys to City College’s white jerseys was more obvious than ever; nine of us playing against a full team.
LMU’s sidelines had multiple players, ready to sub-in for their tired teammates the moment they needed fresh legs on the field. Meanwhile on City College’s side, only trainers waited, packing bags of ice for when players imminently get injured.
“Goggles down, mouth guards in ladies,” said the referee as she placed the ball for the draw.
After 15 minutes of the most passionate and aggressive lacrosse the team has shown all season, I look up at the scoreboard.
We are up three to zero.
A timeout was called and the players took the chance to regroup, gulp down water, and rest our tired legs. With the way the game was looking, the motto was “play clean, play safe, play hard.”
“30 seconds,” yelled the referee, and the team cheer echoed in the corner of the stadium.
Goal after goal our moral skyrocketed.
Every single player on the team was putting in the full effort. Our defense was an impenetrable wall of intense protection. Our depleted offense kept possession of the ball as we battled to keep the score in our favor.
Beautiful transitions and forceful fights for ground balls closed out the first half, with LMU leading five to four.
Bringing it in at halftime, there was no trash-talk, only intensity and excitement. Even with no coaches and the smallest roster in the league, we still had a shot at playoffs.
The halftime break ended and we came out strong, dominating play as we pulled ahead, 9-8.
We were outnumbered and exhausted.
With five minutes left and the score, 10-9, I tried to rally my teammates, but at that point all efforts were being put into keeping LMU at bay.
With one minute left LMU tied the game, 10-10.
LMU gained possession and in the last 30 seconds of the game, they scored. Leaving our team to set back up for the last draw with broken hearts.
The game was over, our season over.
Although such a disappointing game was the conclusion of an exceedingly challenging season, what we took away from the field that day was renewed love for women’s lacrosse.
We played with heart, intensity, and the knowledge that no matter what the outcome was, we are a team, and a force to be reckoned with.