Local girls lacrosse team off to England to compete after a 3-game winning streak in international tournament
PHILADELPHIA - A local lacrosse team hosted an international team as a part of a three-game series that they dominated Wednesday night. Now, they're off to England this summer to keep the winning streak going.
The girls of Philadelphia's Eyekonz Lacrosse hosted England's St. Catherine's team at Mander Recreation Center in the city's Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. After the team got the feel for international competition during The World Lacrosse Tournament last year, they decided it was time for round two and so far, it's been nothing but excitement for the group of young athletes.
"It's really nice to see how everybody plays, and it shows that we are ready for anything," said Dayana Allen who wears number 16 for Eyekonz and is a student at Academy Park High School.
Allen has been with the team for six years and says she is just grateful for the opportunity to compete in such a highly-competitive tournament, especially before she goes to college next school year.
"I just think the whole experience is just so fun, and it's always good to connect with other people," said Allen. "You never know what those connections might lead you to."
Taslim Sabil, another Eyekonz Lacrosse player, says accomplishments like this have helped her parents believe in the sport. Sabil's family is from Sudan where she says they are not familiar with lacrosse. With her continued success in the sport, and now the victory of a big-name tournament, Sabil says her parents are starting to realize how the sport could lead to greater opportunities.
"So they're just like, ‘Is this really going to get you somewhere?’ They don't believe in that. They're like, 'You gotta get there by education,' but now they see that lacrosse can take me to a whole other level." said Sabil. "They're more accepting, and now I just feel more in love with the game."
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After the team's run in last year's World Lacrosse Tournament, they were invited to play in England, but after Wednesday's winning streak, Founder and Head Coach Jaz says the trip overseas will be even more exciting.
"Right now they're breaking glass ceilings. They are like the Serenas and Venus. They are the Tiger Woods, the Gabby Douglas, they are the girls that are really changing the landscape of not just African American girls and Latina girls and girls of color, but also girls that come from certain urban cities," Coach Jaz said.
Alongside Coach Jaz is Tina Sloan Green, who became the first Black head coach of a women's college lacrosse team in the country after her time coaching at Temple University from 1975-1992.
"They're having fun, but they're also learning to complete. To compete not only in the field, but in life, and that's what it's all about," said Green.
A triumphant time for a talented group of athletes is also an emotional one as 10 seniors are going off to college to play lacrosse on partial to full scholarships. But, what better way to end their high school careers than with a trip to England to compete?