Expectations were Apollo 11-high to start the season.
When it came to the final buzzer, the New Westminster bantam A girls lacrosse team was over the moon.
The squad completed a dream season by defeating Ridge Meadows #2 by a 5-2 margin in the provincial final last weekend in Nanaimo.
Despite surrendering the game’s first goal, the Salmonbellies took control fairly quickly, thanks to three straight goals from captain Lauren Black. Her first goal was the kind that cues momentum – a shorthanded breakaway, where the Team B.C. member buried the ball with precision. She’d add two more as New West established its gameplan quickly.
Although Ridge Meadows closed it to within a goal, New West pulled away on markers by Teagan Ng and Kate McDonald. Netminder Myrah Ali held the opposition at bay the rest of the game, and was chosen the game’s MVP.
“We have a very good offensive team,” noted coach Matt Black. “When we can hold a team to three goals, we’ve pretty much got a win.”
The odd occasion when three goals was still too much came when the two teams met in the round-robin portion, with Ridge Meadows handing New West its lone loss, 3-2.
The ’Bellies rebounded, however, and advanced to the final with a 10-1 win over Ridge Meadows #1, where Layla Gould picked up the game MVP honour.
They launched the provincials with three straight wins – beating Coquitlam 6-1 (Alisah Hannay was chosen game MVP), 8-2 over Nanaimo (Lauren Black), and 6-1 over Saanich (Jane McDonald). In the loss to Ridge Meadows, Ng was selected the team’s MVP.
The skill level of the team has been well-recognized in various ways – Lauren Black, assistant captain Heidi Sweeney and Gould were named earlier to Team B.C.’s junior women’s field lacrosse team.
Coach Black noted that the core of this team has been together quite some time, although they did incorporate a handful of new players, including twins Jane and Kate McDonald and second-year player Karitzza Rojas.
“Everyone brought the work ethic to each practice and game.
“Our team was fortunate enough to have everyone committed to the same goal,” noted Black. “Team chemistry was outstanding the whole season.”
The team was also named as the division’s Most Sportsmanlike, while Lauren Black was presented the B.C. Lacrosse Associaton’s Subway Player of the Year award, which comes with a $1,000 scholarship prize. Entering Grade 11, the teen has received inquiries from a variety of U.S. colleges with wome’s field lacrosse programs, including Navy. Gould was named the team’s Warrior Fair Play Award, while Ng was chosen to the final all-star team.
The team consists of Myrah Ali, Lauren Black, Jensyn Bourne, Kaya Bruce, Neve Edgar, Erin Godoy, Layla Gould, Alisha Hannay, Annika Kuznik, Taylor Lee, Jane McDonald, Kate McDonald, Isabella McDonell, Teagan Ng, Mackenzie Planisinic, Karitzza Rojas and Heidi Sweeney, with coaches Matt Black, Doug Sweeney, Amber Haley and Alysa Husband.
In the peewee A provincial final, Ridge Meadows exacted some revenge for its midget counterpart, beating New West 7-3 to claim the gold. En route to the final, the Royal City crew posted a perfect record, besting Ridge Meadows 5-1 in the first game, Coquitlam 5-3, and Surrey 7-2.
The ‘Bellies’ Brooklyn Sverdrup was named the squad’s Warriors Fair Play recipient, while Kaylee Schumacher was selected to the division’s all-star team.
In the bantam A division, New West doubled Burnaby 6-3 to finish third overall. The Warriors Fair Play winner was Beth Anderson, while Kate Bordian earned a spot on the all-star team.
The bantam B Warriors Fair Play recipient from New West was Hannah Brine, while Aimee Lever was named to the all-star squad.
At the boys peewee provincials, Kai Stewardson collected the A1 Warrior Fair Play award, while an all-star selection when to Wayde Jamieson.