The Millersville Lacrosse team hosted a friendly exhibition match with the Meiji University Lacrosse team from Tokyo, Japan on Thursday evening, March 10th at Biemesderfer Stadium. Though this was an exhibition match that does not count for anything statistically significant, this game counted for much more in terms of promoting good sportsmanship, the game of lacrosse, cultural understanding and, perhaps most importantly, developing new friendships.
Millersville Head Coach Mia Hall was presented with the opportunity for Millersville to take part in this important contest when she received an email from the travel company sponsoring the Meiji University team just before the Winter Break. “They have been in Philadelphia a little over a week and have played St. Joseph’s [University], West Chester [University], and Cabrini [College]. Since we are close to those schools and our spring break plans aligned, we were able to set a date.” Coach Hall noted that as an example of this teams passion for the sport of lacrosse. They “came over to America literally with just themselves, no coach, no interpreter and all of us are in awe of that! They coach themselves and have such a passion for the sport and for their team!”
The game was also a way for both teams to see how the sport might be played differently in their respective countries. Sophomore attacker Callie Kavanaugh said that the players from Meiji University would “detain you with their stick which was different for us. They also knew what an [Isolation] play was and would yell it out.” Coach Hall added that “people are in awe at the level and skill that [lacrosse] is being played [internationally]. I would not be surprised that if, in the next couple of years you see a lot more international student athletes looking to come to America not only for their education but also to fulfill their dream of playing four years of collegiate lacrosse.” For those readers interested in how Millersville stacks up against international competition, the final score of the match was 14-2 in favor of the Marauders.
This contest was not about the score but something far more important. Coach Hall identified how significant this game was for her team. “They have a great opportunity to see how, through sport, you can cross language and cultural barriers and find common ground.” Following the game the teams ate dinner together in an effort to bond. “Some of the players could speak a little English” said Kavanaugh. “Every time we had something in common they cheered, clapped, and smiled. Overall, the experience was awesome.” The teams will stay in touch with their new friends from Japan. “We all gained Instagram followers from Japan so that was really cool” Kavanaugh happily added. Finally, the teams exchanged gifts which will act as reminders of the experience that brought cultures together through the game of lacrosse.