In just the second season of existence for girls box lacrosse in the Cowichan Valley, the peewee female Thunder made it all the way to the provincial championships.
Although they didn’t win a game against the other top teams in the province, including four from the Mainland and one other from the Island, the Thunder made the best of the tournament in Port Coquitlam last weekend.
“All of our game scores were held within single digits,” head coach Naomi Walser pointed out. “And the girls really enjoyed playing the harder teams.
The Thunder opened the tournament last Thursday with a rematch of the Island final against Peninsula. Ahead 2-1 after the first period, Cowichan ended up on the wrong side of a 5-3 final score. Bria Grounds scored twice for the Thunder and Elora Waardenburg had the other goal. Braith Williams finished with two assists and Brynn Williams had one, while Camryn Waldron was named game MVP.
Cowichan lost 7-2 to host Port Coquitlam on Friday morning, getting unassisted goals from Grounds and Waldron, with goalie Anikka MacDonald taking MVP honours.
That afternoon, they fell 8-1 to Coquitlam, with Grounds notching the Thunder’s lone goal and claiming the MVP award.
Grounds and game MVP Waardenburg scored in the fourth game, an 11-2 loss to Ridge Meadows 1 on Saturday morning. The Cowichan players finally ran out of gas in their fifth game on Saturday evening, losing 9-0 to Ridge Meadows 2. Hannah Tait was named game MVP.
Waldron received the Warrior Fair Play Award for hard work and sportsmanship throughout the season, and MacDonald was named to the tournament all-star team after stopping 246 of the 287 shots she faced over five games.
The provincials capped off a season of steady growth and improvement for the Thunder players.
“We started out the season as a fun group of girls learning how to pass and catch, most having never seen a lacrosse game before,” Walser noted. “Throughout the season it was amazing to see the moments when it would come together for us. Every single player found a new element of talent, and we finished off the year as an amazing team able to compete with the best of them.”
The team defence and MacDonald’s goaltending were Cowichan’s strongest aspects at provincials.
“As a new team, we had a lot of experience with defence going into the tournament,” Walser said. “We played against a lot of really strong players over the weekend, who had to first get through our defence before trying to get past our all-star goalie. Our girls were able to get some great shots, and were able to explore new moves on offence against tougher teams. With a squad of 12 runners and an amazing goalie, they had the athleticism to compete with the best of them. We have lots of room for growth, and are looking forward to continued development.”