Ridge Meadows further cemented its status as the current lacrosse capital of B.C. when it picked up its second provincial championship in two weeks.
The Burrards under-18 team clinched gold with a smothering 7-1 win over New Westminster in the tournament finals in Port Coquitlam on Feb. 23.
The win was on the tail of their U-15 counterparts storming through the competition in Richmond.
While the younger team relied upon their goal scoring, virtuoso MVP, Jake Young, the U-18 squad depended on hard-nose defence.
“At the end of the day, defence wins games,” said head coach, Travis Gathercole.
“The forward line puts you on the board and keeps you above the other team but if your defence fails then you’ve just got no hope.”
The happy coach said he was blessed with some exceptional players, some of whom have been accepted into division one and division two college programs in the US.
“We had a spectacular goalie, too,” he pointed out.
‘Lucas Price was phenomenal. He saved us, especially in our game against Delta. It was a one goal game, so if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Though many of the players had strong showings in the championship games, the tournament MVP went to Delta’s Rhys Porteous.
“Rhys is a really good player and he put in a really good performance but at the end of the day we weren’t playing for the individual accolades and our guys were the best team by the definition of team,” Gathercole said.
“I don’t think any one of them is really concerned with that at all and I don’t think there was any one player that we had to carry.
“Everybody did what was asked of them, and they stepped up and all contributed equally, so I don’t think the individual accolades bothered them, especially with them holding the championship.”
Moving forward, next year’s team is going to look much different.
They stand to gain many of the top players from this year’s U-15 squad, but, as is the case with youth sports, they will be saying goodbye to some of their most experienced veterans.
“We are losing a big chunk of our D-Line, so that’s going to be very hard to replace but we have a very powerful forward line and midfield,” Gathercole said. “So I think we’re going to be struggling on the defensive side more than anything but we’ve got plenty of time to work on that.”
Although it is the players who take the field, the head coach said they would not have nearly as much success if it was not for the incredible support they receive.
“The time and investment that the kids’ parents put into their kids’ obsession with this game is phenomenal,” he said.
“From my experience back home in Australia compared to here, it’s a night and day difference.
“It’s no wonder Canada is as strong as it is in the world environment for lacrosse; it really thrives from a family support system.”