ENGLAND—Olivia Hompe has always reveled at playing in the big moment.
So, down four goals with 15 minutes left in the Bronze Medal game of the Womens Lacrosse World Cup, it was Hompe that found her groove through the raindrops.
“It was pouring rain, but we had a great crowd and had a big comeback,” Hompe said. “We were down 9-5 with 15 minutes left and clawed our way to tie it at 9-9. With five seconds left in double overtime we scored the winning goal, so it was an amazing experience.”
Hompe was named the MVP of the game for her efforts, helping lead team England to an improbable 10-9 win over Australia.
“It was a really big honor and I was excited,” Hompe said. “It was a really scrappy game, we really hung in there… I scored the last three in regulation to tie it. I love playing in big games and pressure games and I think my teammates did a really good job of trusting in our system and the game plan and I was lucky to be the one in front of the net finishing those shots.”
Hompe credited the defense as being the real MVP of the contest. The England stoppers held Australia without a goal for the final 25 minutes of regulation and overtime.
The feat is made even more impressive given that Australia had never not medaled in the World Cup, and that it defeated England by a margin of nine goals during pool play.
“We were definitely the underdog,” Hompe said. “We lost to them by nine during the pool stages and I think we knew we could give them a good run for their money.”
More so than winning, Hompe and the rest of England took pride in being ambassadors of the sport to young fans in the country, where lacrosse is still growing.
“It was incredible, especially playing for a home crowd,” Hompe said. “England did a really good job of advertising so we pulled really big crowds and a lot of young girls. The sport is still growing in England, so it was really cool to see a lot of young fans getting into the sport.”
Hompe’s mother is from England, and although being from American, Olivia is a dual-citizen. Playing in the World Cup, which, like soccer, comes once every four years, for England was a point of pride for the former New Canaan High School and Princeton star.
“BBC streamed and aired all the knockout rounds so it was a really big deal for the sport in England,” Hompe said. “It was cool to be a part of, and playing for Team England was a really big honor. My mother is British and my other two sisters were born in England, so to be able to play for that team and that country was an incredible experience.”