When you get a surprise opportunity to do something you love halfway around the world, you jump on it! That was the case for women’s lacrosse player Angela Lulejian.
Angela, a junior exercise science major from Glendale, California, was recruited to join an all-star lacrosse team to experience international competition for two weeks in June. The team traveled to Australia, playing against three different teams, including the Australian national team and a couple of club teams.
Beyond Sports Tours is the program that arranged the trip. The company creates opportunities for U.S. student-athletes, international athletes and international youth to enjoy a life-changing cross-cultural experience through a sport, according to its website.
In addition to the international competition, Angela and her U.S. teammates visited the eastern coast cities/regions of Sydney, Cairns and Melbourne, where they played their games. “We got to do a lot of sight-seeing in addition to playing our games,” she said.
Her team was comprised of athletes from around the country, including Ohio Northern University lacrosse player Sydney Skelding, who also hails from California. “I didn’t really know anybody, so she and I kind of gravitated toward each other,” Angela said. Because none of them knew each other in advance, the U.S. team was “forced to get close really quickly.”
“We definitely had to learn how to read people more quickly … figure out each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work as a team,” Angela said. It was a challenge to adapt to a new coach, Mike Faith from Franklin and Marshall, but the student-athletes made it work.
Despite the challenges, building those relationships was one of the best parts of the trip – the relationships and the typical Australia experiences such as interacting with wallabies and kangaroos, and holding Daisy, the koala.
Although Heidelberg’s lacrosse season won’t start until the next semester, Angela will take her Australia experience with her into what she describes as a promising season. “We have a lot of upperclass players and a new class of younger players who should help a lot,” said Angela, who’s been playing since she was in seventh grade. “We definitely should be better this year.”