St Paul's Collegiate girls' lacrosse team scored the winning goal in the closing seconds of the finals to win the A division of the Waikato Lacrosse Girls' Secondary School League for the second year running.
Their opponents, Cambridge High School junior A, were unbeaten all season and strong favourites ahead of the finals, but St Paul's nailed the victory after a determined performance sustained until the final whistle blow.
Samantha Quintal, St Paul's A team coach was proud of her team's performance in the final.
"We knew going into the final that it was going to be a hard fight. The Cambridge Junior A team is a very good team filled with fast, fit and skilled players and this showed in the round-robin games as they beat us quite convincingly," Quintal said.
"Fortunately for us, our last few games leading up to the final were hard and intense games and this taught us a lot in terms of how to play under pressure. Going into this final I knew that it was going to be tough and I think the girls were also quite nervous, but they had trained hard all season and played many awesome games."
"To score a goal in the last 30 seconds to put us ahead was incredible and I could not be prouder of how they played and how they kept such calm heads in such an intense few minutes. It has been another great year coaching these girls, and it's amazing to be able to maintain the first place position in the A grade."
"The team and I wouldn't be able to achieve this remarkable outcome without the help from Angela Bromwich our manager and all the parents who have helped and supported our girls throughout the whole season."
In the Premier Division, defending champions St Peter's Cambridge emerged as overall winners after a close match with old rivals Cambridge High School. St Peter's had progressed into the finals without a loss all season and maintained their consistent form to the end.
Lacrosse stronghold Hamilton Girls' High School secured third place after a win against Te Awamutu College. Waikato Diocesan caused a surprise end-of-season upset and moved from bottom of the Premier Division into fifth place after winning both their semi-final and final matches.
Hamilton Girls' High School, Sacred Heart Girls' College and Hillcrest High School, along with three other teams from the Premier Division, now head to the NZ Girls' Secondary Schools nationals in Auckland next weekend.
In the large B Division, Rototuna High School emerged as undisputed champions after a consistent 12 wins in a row. Sacred Heart Girls' College entered two teams in the B Division and both completed the season in the top six, signalling good depth of talent for future years.
The Waikato Lacrosse Girls' Secondary School League runs during terms two and three at Tamahere Park in Hamilton. This year more than 400 players and 29 teams from 11 schools entered the League.
Lacrosse earned provisional recognition from the International Olympic Committee in 2018, and is now the fastest growing sport in the Waikato.
Waikato Lacrosse Girls Secondary Schools League Final Results
1. St Peter's Cambridge; 2. Cambridge High School; 3. Hamilton Girls' High School; 4. Te Awamutu College; 5. Waikato Diocesan; 6. Sacred Heart Girls' College; 7. Hillcrest High School; 8. Morrinsville Royal.
1. St Paul's Collegiate; 2. Cambridge High School Junior A; 3. Matamata College A; 4. Cambridge High School Premier Reserve; 5. Te Awamutu College Premier Reserve; 6. Hamilton Girls' High School A; 7. St Peter's Cambridge A; 8. Hillcrest High School A.
1. Rototuna High School; 2. Sacred Heart Girls College A; 3. Morrinsville Gold; 4. Cambridge High School White; 5. Matamata B; 6. Sacred Heart Girls College B; 7. Waikato Diocesan B; 8. Cambridge High School Navy; 9. Hamilton Girls' High School B; 10. Te Awamutu College Silver; 11. Te Awamutu College Navy; 12. St Peter's Cambridge B; 13; Hillcrest High School B.