Sports

All four Maple Ridge host teams play for B.C. lacrosse gold

Jayde Meredith, left, of the Burrards during a championship bantam game against New Westminster 2 at Planet Ice on Sunday. - Colleen Flanagan
Jayde Meredith, left, of the Burrards during a championship bantam game against New Westminster 2 at Planet Ice on Sunday.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan

All four local teams got the opportunity to play for a gold medal, as Ridge Meadows Lacrosse hosted the 2014 Minor Box Lacrosse Female Provincial Championships from July 9-13.

Three of the teams – junior, midget and bantam – won gold, and the pee wees took silver.

“It was quite a weekend,” said Wes Eaton, who heads the Burrards girls program.

He said getting all four local teams into gold medal games was an unexpected and amazing accomplishment.

“This year was an exceptional year for us. It was great for us to host it, and be in all the finals.”

He noted the five-day tournament was the longest ever, made necessary by the round-robin format. There were six teams in each of the four divisions. They played each other once, for five round-robin games. Then, the top two teams played for gold, and the third and fourth teams played for bronze. There was no room for a semi-final upset.

“Everybody liked the format, because whoever was the best team could go for gold,” said Eaton.

He also coaches the junior Burrards, who were underdogs heading into the tournament, in that they hadn’t managed to beat Coquitlam.

In round-robin play, they changed that with a 2-1 win. They also beat Port Coquitlam 5-4, Burnaby 5-4, and Nanaimo 6-0, and tied New Westminster 2-2.

In the final, they faced Coquitlam again, winning 5-3. Eaton said the Burrards solved Coquitlam by focusing on shutting down three girls who did almost all their scoring.

“We had a better balanced team – every line can score,” he said.

For Eaton, in seven seasons this was his fifth coaching at the provincials. He had two silver finishes to his credit.

“Gold is a way better feeling,” he said.

Ashley Heisler was chosen to the junior all-star team, and Leah Burnett won the fair play award.

Jason McDole coached the midgets to a thrilling 6-3 win over New West in the final.

In round-robin play they beat Nanaimo 7-0, Coquitlam 5-1, Port Coquitlam 6-2 and New West Two 4-2. They tied New West One 4-4.

It was his fifth provincial championship. The team he coaches is a powerhouse that has won three previous B.C. tournaments. However, this was their first year at the midget level. They were expected to be favourites to win it all again next year. They’re ahead of schedule.

“For us to win it this year was a big surprise,” said McDole, noting of his 19 girls, only six are second-year players. “They’re just a really good core group of kids. They listen, and they work their butts off.”

They all play hard for each other. Committed defence, strong goaltending and a smart passing game set the midgets apart.

McDole noted there are a couple of girls who are only in their second year of lacrosse, “but they’re doing something on the floor to help the team win.”

“Five teams could have won the tournament, and four of them were strong,” said McDole. “We feel fortunate and happy that we were in it to the end.”

Megan Kinna was chosen to the all-star team, and Mikayla Quinn won the midget fair play award.

Coach Chris Gill, the former star player who is best known as the coach of the Maple Ridge Burrards, also coaches both the pee wee and bantam girls teams.

The bantams humbled New Westminster 9-0 to win gold.

In round-robin play they had some big wins: 18-0 over Nanaimo, 7-0 against Port Coquitlam, 7-5 over Langley, 4-3 against New West Two, and 7-5 over New West One.

Paige Bell was chosen to the bantam all-star team, and Jayde Meredith won the fair play award.

The pee wees became the first team this year to best a previously undefeated powerhouse team from Semiahmoo. Then, the Semi girls came gunning for revenge in the final, and took the game 10-0.

The Ridge pee wees started the tournament on Wednesday night with a 9-7 won over Nanaimo, then beat New West 5-4, upset Semiahmoo 6-5, and doubled both Coquitlam and Burnaby by 6-3 scores.

The pee wee all star was Jade Lenton, and Alexa Ford won the fair play award.

Lenton, Bell and Kinna were selected as tournament most valuable players in their divisions.

Bronze medal game scores were:

Pee Wee: New West over PoCo 5-2;

Bantam: New West#1 3-2 over Langley;

Midget: New West#2 over Port Co 5-1;

Junior: New West#1 over Burnaby 6-3.

Eaton was given the volunteer award.

“Wes coached, and also did a ton of hours at the tournament,” noted McDole.

 

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