Following a brief training and skills clinic, the Lady Eagles endured last Saturday’s freezing rain to participate in a tournament-style metro game with the New York Magpies and the Boston Lady Demons in Yonkers, New York. Due to numbers and the cohesive nature of the East Coast Women’s Association, the teams were split by position and ability rather than home city. While one team donned the Lady Demons’ navy blue jumpers, the others were clad in mysterious blue and black wool sweater vests of dubious and unspecified origin (beyond an unmarked black duffel bag).
The women played to the side of the main field, as the men’s B teams battled on the larger pitch. Cone-delineated perimeters shaped the field with one side curved in the standard AFL fashion but the other flattened to avoid a metal drainage vent by the boundary line, resulting in a short field shaped roughly like an old, deflated football. Soccer goals on each end served as goalposts with small orange cones for behinds. But the real distinguishing characteristic of the makeshift footy field was a massive puddle near its center – while the grassy outer areas squelched underfoot from the incessant downpour, the dirt-filled section retained several inches of standing water. Any tackle completed in the mud-pit resulted in an audible splash, though these occasional reluctant swims did prevent the players from getting too muddy.
Persevering over the weight of their sodden wool jumpers, and absorbing more water with each tackle, Team Sweater Vests took the day by just 3 behinds. The 20 minute halves were mostly characterized by tackles and throw-ins; the oddly shaped field was rather conducive to kicks sent out-of-bounds. Despite the sizable target of the soccer goals, most kicks resulted in behinds due to the unusually waterlogged and heavy footy. Bouncing the footy would have proved near impossible due to its unfamiliar soggy weight and the field conditions, so players kept their runs short and relied more on kicks to targets than speed.
The women will meet again for larger-scale matches at the EAFL Regional Tournament on June 24th in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Sweater Vests: 1.7.13
Boston Demons: 1.4.10