A young team of West Shore lacrosse players took home the gold medal at the bantam B lacrosse provincials on July 17.
The gold medal game was a head-to-head match between the West Shore lacrosse B1 bantam team and Port Coquitlam, at Panorama Recreation Centre.
Each time the West Shore team scored a goal it was matched by the opposition until the score was tied at 3-3. Eventually the Port Coquitlam team could not keep up and the West Shore boys won 5-3.
“It was pretty amazing,” said bantam captain Jake Campbell, 12, from Langford. “We aren’t all star players but we played as a team and passed the ball a lot.”
Even with the team finishing up its season with a bang, Hayden Francis, 13, from Langford said the team had its struggles.
“We didn’t gel as a team until midway through the season,” Francis said adding once the team doubled its practices the players grew closer together.
Francis unfortunately suffered a concussion after being checked into the boards during the first game, and had to sit out the rest of the tournament.
Another set back the team found was having only four left-handed players.
Derek Kuhnert, 13, from Colwood, said being a “lefty” allowed him more time on the floor during games. The advantage for the southpaws was to be able to throw the ball from areas of the box that a right-handed player would have more trouble with.
“Left-handers are hard to get (on a team), I don’t know why,” said coach Ken Passfield.
Over the season the team played 14 games, winning nine, losing two and tying three games.
“I was very happy with this group of boys. They have been improving from Day 1 to the end of the season,” Passfield said. “This is the first time any of these boys have won a gold medal (at provincials).”
Peewee C2 takes bronze in provincials
After conquering the Island championships, the West Shore peewee C2 lacrosse team earned a bronze medal at provincials.
The team travelled to Vernon to compete against the top eight- to 12-year-old players in the province.
While returning home with a bronze medal around their necks, some players were a little disappointed hoping they would have made it farther in the competition.
“(A bronze medal) is better than nothing,” said Carter Wood, 10, from Langford.
The team had a diverse group of players. Some had been running with a lacrosse stick for half their lives while other players were freshmen to the sport.
Ethan Howes, 12, from Colwood, towers over his teammates and said he enjoyed his first season in the sport.
“It’s really fun, and I get to hit people,” Howes said.
At the beginning of the season the team didn’t have a coach, which led to a slow start for the season.
Within a couple weeks of the season starting, Mike Jensen took on the responsibility as coach.
“This is a really good group of kids and their camaraderie was great,” Jensen said. “I was really impressed.”
The team won the Island championship in Kerry Park when they beat out Nanaimo in overtime on June 26.
At that point in the season, Nanaimo was an undefeated team, Jensen said.
“This is the best team I’ve ever coached,” he said.