June 11, 2013 by bmcconnelluwo
Field lacrosse may be a relatively new sport for the NCSSAA but two Ottawa teams made a big impact at the OFSAA championships this year including an antique bronze and a showing in the consolation final.
Hosted at Bell High School and the Nepean Sportsplex fron June 4-5, this year’s OFSAA lacrosse championships featured the province’s top ‘A/AA’ teams and was a showing of the very best of the sport at the high school level.
Ottawa’s entries into this year’s OFSAA tournament were the St. Mark Lions and the John McCrae Bulldogs—the city champions this year following an undefeated regular season in the nation’s capital.
After going 2-1 in the round robin matches, John McCrae went on to lose their semi-final match 11-2 against St. Stephen’s C.S.S from Toronto, a loss that pushed them into the bronze medal game against McKinnon Park.
John McCrae then went on the narrowly lose the bronze medal game, earning them the antique bronze in a match that saw the Bulldogs pepper the McKinnon Park net minder with flurries of shots to no avail.
Paul Leck—the coach of the young John McCrae Bulldogs—says he couldn’t be happier with his team’s play this tournament.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to make OFSAA and when we got there our next goal was to make it to a medal round,” he explains. “We accomplished that so I’m proud.”
In just their first time at an OFSAA tournament, the Bulldogs faced off against a highly skilled McKinnon Park team who boasted a national-level player within their ranks and one who was beaten by a single point by the eventual champions in the dying seconds of their semifinal.
“These are all junior A and junior B players so the skill level was so much more intense than what we get through the year but I figured we could compete and we did,” says Leck.
This year the Bulldogs will lose 11 seniors in total meaning that next year will be a rebuilding season.
“A lot of them have been with me since grade 9 or 10 so I’m just happy for them that they had a chance to witness an OFSAA tournament and place this high up,” concludes Leck.
The St. Mark Lions also had a wild ride on the second day of OFSAA competition.
After falling behind in the consolation semifinal 5-4, the Lions managed to tie the game up in the dying seconds and send the game to overtime. This sparked an intense string of three overtimes that eventually led to a St. Mark’s victory in sudden death.
In the consolation final, the Lions racked up a commanding lead against Adam Scott S.S. of Peterborough before dropping a string of goals to eventually lose by a slim two-goal margin.
Despite the loss, OFSAA convener and St. Mark’s head coach Stacey Simpson says she couldn’t be more proud of her team this year.
“The level of play my guys have come to even in one season in phenomenal,” says Simpson, adding that the highlight of the year for her was seeing her players grow their skills and learning new things on the field.
“I wanted them to be competitive, I wanted them to know that they could play at different levels and I wanted them to have fun,” she explains.
As far as the success of the OFSAA tournament goes, Simpson says she couldn’t be happier.
“To have sports in the nation’s capital is kind of a neat thing and to get kids who would never otherwise be able to make it up to Ottawa, to give them that exposure is kind of fun,” she says.