It was ten days, four games, three cities and zero regrets for Erin Taylor and Caitlyn Corace, who visited Scotland to play lacrosse this summer.
Both Corace and Taylor played for the Keene State College Women’s Lacrosse team last season. Taylor is a returning junior goalkeeper who will play a pivotal role in the team’s success this season. Corace graduated last spring after playing four years as a midfielder where she was an outstanding goal scorer. They were invited by the USA Athletes International Inc. to take part in a trip to Scotland to play lacrosse for a small U.S squad coached by Kristen Malecki.
On June 1, they both packed their bags and boarded a plane to Europe for the first time.
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“My friend who plays for Western Connecticut actually went to Germany with the same organization the year before, so around Christmas time I decided that I was definitely going to go,” Taylor said.
She continued, “We went there with girls from Western Connecticut who we play during the season so I was kind of nervous, but once we got there everyone was in the same situation so you kind of just automatically bonded.”
Head Coach of the KSC Women’s Lacrosse team Katie Arsenault discussed their decision, “I thought it was a great idea! To experience another country, play with different players from the U.S and against players from other countries. To experience another culture, learn their history and meet new people from all over the world, what’s not to love?”
While lacrosse in Scotland is not as prominent as in the states, the sport is starting to catch on. However, there are some noticeable differences in the style of play.
Corace said, “They weren’t up to date on the rules that they have in the U.S., and they also don’t wear the same protection as we do such as goggles.”
Taylor added, “They definitely play a lot rougher because it is new over there.” Their first game was against a co-ed club team from Aberdeen which had players’ birth years ranging from both the 1990s and 1950s.
“They said club teams and I was expecting just girls my age, but there was 30-year-old guys, girls that were fifteen, and even a woman who was 67,” Corace said.
The 67-year-old played goalkeeper and according to Taylor was “just awesome.”
Taylor split time with another goalie during the game and got some experience running the field.
The team was also given the opportunity to compete against the Scotland’s U-21 national team in their final game.
“I think they thought they were playing the actual United States team so they were intimidated, so when we showed up to play, they were kind of relieved it wasn’t them [the U.S. team],” Taylor said.
The games were less competitive than the girls may be used to, but the experience and interactions with the players was worth more than a tight game.
Arsenault said, “I don’t think they were there to develop as better players, but rather to see another part of the world. They met great people on their own team as well as others, and it seems that is what I would want them to pull away from it.”
Both girls agreed winning and losing weren’t the important factors.
“After every game we went out with one of the teams, they had us back to their clubhouses and they were really welcoming,” Taylor said.
Corace added, “You kind of hang out with the teams after and just learning about them and hearing about how they got into lacrosse was really interesting.”
Putting lacrosse aside, the team ventured out to tour three different cities during their brief stay in Scotland where they witnessed some breathtaking sights people could only dream of.
“Everyday we traveled and did something different, so the first thing that we saw was this castle in Aberdeen. It was right on the ocean and the cliffs just dropped down on all sides of it, it was gorgeous. I think all together we saw four castles,” Taylor said.
She continued, “We went to a whisky distillery and got to experience all the local amenities like the pubs and restaurants.”
Corace said, “Just nice to see things you wouldn’t see everyday. We even got to see the William Wallace Monument in Stirling from the film ‘Braveheart.’”
The lacrosse season here at KSC will not begin until the spring. Taylor will fulfill the starting goalkeeper role and looks to continue her success after stopping 163 shots last year.
Corace is currently applying for coaching jobs and considering a coaching program in England.
Jay McAree can be contacted at