Two Ridge Meadows Burrards minor lacrosse teams won provincial championships at both the girls bantam and pee wee levels at a Canada Day long weekend tournament held in Victoria.
The pee wee girls came back from being down 3-1 midway through the second period of the the gold medal game, and beat the Burnaby Lakers 5-4.
Coach Sandro Bonifazi said his team came through the round-robin portion of the tournament with a record of 3-1-1. They had wins over Burnaby 2-0, Peninsula (Saanich) 8-2 and another Maple Ridge team 7-6. They tied Nanaimo 5-5 and lost to Coquitlam 6-3.
Mya Stewart had two goals in the gold medal game, while Delia Puchalski, Tiana Bikic and Jaylyn Morris also scored.
Puchalski won the tournament most valuable player award and was selected to the all-star team. Morris won a tournament warrior fair play award.
Bonifazi said both girls never give up on a play, and are strong on both offence and defence.
The pee wees were short-staffed due to injuries, and played just 12 runners while most teams had 18. That made for an exhausted team.
“We knew it was going to be really tough,” said Bonifazi.
“But we have a good all-around team. Our defence is very strong, and we get timely scoring.”
Their goaltender was Amelie Bournival, who was called up from the novice team and “played phenomenal” said Bonifazi. She had one shutout in the tournament.
The pee wees won the spirit award for the tournament, with a decorated canoe during the team introduction ceremony, and the Ridge parents got everyone to spontaneously sing the national anthem for the girls’ first game on Canada Day.
From the other Burrards pee wee team, which did not medal in the tournament, there were two players who received recognition. Jess Sharpe won a warrior fair play award and Kaylea Paterson was an all-star selection.
The Burrards bantams pulled off a 6-5 overtime win over the Semiahmoo Rock.
Emily Matsui, who was the MVP of the bantam tournament, scored the game winner and four of her team’s six goals in the championship game.
“It’s her first year ever playing lacrosse, but she’s a natural athlete,” said coach Chris Gill.
His team went a perfect 4-0 through round-robin, and then met an undefeated Semi team in their last game before the playoffs.
Neither coach wanted to overtax his team in that fifth game, knowing they would be facing off again in the gold medal match, so it was a listless contest that the Rock took 5-4.
But the Burrards won when it counted.
“It was a good tournament and good competition, and we had to battle hard,” said Gill.
They started with wins over New Westminster 5-4, Burnaby 4-1, Victoria-Esquimalt 9-1 and Nanaimo 3-2.
Sydney Pain won the warrior fair play award. Gill described her as “a hard worker and an unsung hero. He said the award could also have gone to goaltender Leona Sinclair.
“She played great all tournament, faced a lot of shots, and made big saves when we needed her to.”
Gill had a team with nine first-year players, and he was given the bantam coaching award for the tournament.
“The girls worked really hard,” said Gill. “We were kind of the underdogs going in.”
Midgets play for bronze
The Ridge Meadows midgets lost in the bronze medal game by a score of 6-1 against the Coquitlam Adanacs.
Burrard midget Avery Johnson was given a warrior fair play award, while Megan Stewart won an all-star award.
The Burrards finished round-robin play in a three-way tie for first place with a record of 4-1, and won their games by an aggregate score of 30-10. But they still lost their place in the gold medal game on the tie-breaker.