The West is best when it comes to girls lacrosse.
Both the bantam and midget Team B.C girls squad won the national title in Victoria with the help of four local Burrards players.
Candace McDole and Megan Kinna suited up for Team B.C.’s bantam team while Ciarra Curran and Marlo Bellamy played for the midget team. All four are part of the first B.C. girls teams to win the national titles.
McDole said the hard work over the past month-and-a-half was worth the effort. From the long practices to the tireless efforts by the coaching staff, McDole said the process for winning was in place from the start.
“We grew close over the six weeks and that helped us better understand each other, communicate, and bring home the gold,” said Team B.C.’s youngest bantam player. “Our hard work paid off and I`m sure I will have lifetime friendships.”
To win gold, the bantam girls team battleled a familir foe in Team Ontario. The two teams had played a pair of spirited affairs in round-robin play, with Ontario winning the opening game 4-3 in overtime before Team B.C. bounced back to take second match 5-3.
Team B.C. jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with goals from Keeley O’Neill of New Westminster and Ridge Meadows’ Kinna. However, much like their round-robin games, Ontairo wasn’t going to go away quietly as they replied with two quick goals to tie the affair 2-2 after the end of the opening frame.
Team B.C.’s Katie Browning of New Westminster scored a shorthanded marker at the 6:30 mark of the second to recapture the lead. Three minutes later, Elle Hamilton of Juan de Fuca restored Team B.C.’s two-goal lead after scoring on a breakaway. Team B.C. held the two goal advantage late into the final period before Ontario nudged closer with a late goal.
It was too little, too late as the Bantam Girls celebrated their national title.
Not to be outdone, the Team B.C. Midget girls also came face-to-face with Team Ontario for the gold medal. Both teams met earlier in the round robin with B.C. winning both, 7-0 and 2-1 respectively.
In the finals, Team B.C. again scored first with goals from Kaitlyn Yan of Burnaby and Squwey Gottfriedsen of Kamloops.. Team B.C. continued their high pressure transition game in the second period, allowing Ridge Meadow product Bellamy to score the eventual winner. Ontario finally bulged the twine late in the second to keep its slim hopes alive. However, Team B.C.’s Jenna Chernoff of New Westminster gave the home province the 4-1 lead before Ontario managed a late goal to round out the scoring.
Bellamy said she was at a loss in trying to explain what winning gold meant to her and her teammates..
“I was so excited when we won, There are not nearly enough words to describe how I felt.”
This is the first time the Burrards have sent anyone other than a goalie to the national teams.
Bellamy also attributed the win to the great work by the coaching staff, volunteers and family members that sacrificed so much for their success.
“It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders when we won. All the long hard practices and the nerves were gone, and we were left with the gold. It was an experience that I will never forget.”