After posting a 13-0-2 record through the season, the Lancers fell 1-0 on Tuesday in the gold medal game at the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association (CWOSSA) playoffs.
EDSS’s chances were hurt when several of the girls dropped out, forbidden to play by the other teams they play for, said coach John Swatridge.
“Next year we’re going to be very careful who we take. We’re not sure how we’re going to do this yet, but there’s no way we’re going to go through it again where we have girls who just pull out at the last minute and don’t play in the playoffs because their coaches tell them not to. Somehow, we’re going to have to come up with a form or a signed agreement with the coaches to make sure we pick girls who can play in the playoffs.”
The Lancers started strong at the championships Monday, beating West Hill 5-2 and Preston 4-0, and West Hill again 3-1 on Tuesday. The team finally fell to Centennial in the gold medal game, on the wrong end of a 1-0 score.
Swatridge noted that a similar fate befell Preston High School (who the Lancers also beat 3-1 in the WCSAA finals on February 26).
“We played Preston again Monday afternoon [at CWOSSA], and they were missing a goalie and three or four other players who weren’t allowed to play. They weren’t nearly the team they should have been. We both should have been in the finals, and as it turns out, they didn’t make it the second day.”
Despite the disappointing finale, there was plenty to celebrate this season, with 2013-2014 representing the team’s best-sustained effort in years.
“We had about eight Grade 9 and Grade 10 girls who really came through big-time for us,” said Swatridge. “We had to cut four girls from last year, which was really hard. But the girls we picked really improved and surprised us with how well they did.
“They got much better. They were major contributors even at the regionals. It was neat to see how they progressed, and they were very committed.”
The streak was the result of “a lot of skill and a lot of hard work [and] the best defense we’ve ever had,” said Swatridge
“It was great until we got to the CWOSSA, when girls couldn’t play because there other teams wouldn’t let them. We ran into a lot of personnel problems.”