Like many of her teammates, Elmira’s Maddy Camm, 10, was nervous when she got on the field last weekend at the Ontario Minor Field Lacrosse League championships in Oshawa. It was a first for the Kitchener-Waterloo U11 B team, with a chance to bring home gold.
“We never gave up in any of the games. It took a lot of work, but we just calmed ourselves down and kept working hard. The practices we had to do were all worth it,” Camm said this week.Stiff competition greeted the B-level U11’s from the get-go, with a match against Mimico, a U11 A team. K-W lost the battle 12-7 but won the war later in the finals when they faced off against Mimico once more.
“Mimico played A all season and we were a B team. They were used to playing a much higher-caliber team, so the first game was a little of shell shock – they were a really fast team and we just weren’t ready for it. As the tournament progressed we started playing better and better. For the final game, we were ready for them, for sure,” said coach Jessica Lubert.
K-W also steamrolled St. Catharines in the semi-finals with a 14-9 decision, another first for the team.
“We’d only tied or lost to them in the regular season,” Lubert explained.
Heading into the finals, the local girls started out on a low point, down 4-0. Mimico had played rough all season, the coach explained, and a number of red cards made it a messy game. But, by the end, the K-W squad rallied and won the game 10-6.
“We definitely had to give them a speech: ‘this is the last time we are going to get to play together, we really need to work hard for our teammates, for each other.’ I think we were a little nervous going in because the provincial championships are kind of a big deal. I think once the girls got used to that, they got over their fear and were able to get back to having fun,” said Lubert.
The K-W girls took home the gold to the awe of their coaches. It was a beginner’s year all around, Lubert explained, as the three young women, including Lubert and her sister Jocelyn, started coaching for the first time this year. The win was a huge accomplishment for both players and the three staff who braved an unusually cold day on the field.
“We had a great group of girls. We really had a chance to watch them grow as a team and it was phenomenal watching them in the final game. They looked for each other, made smart passes – it was really, really great watching them gel together.”