Storming through the Waterloo County Secondary School Athletics Association (WCSSA) this season, the EDSS field hockey squad finally met their match last week.
Competing at the Central Western Ontario Secondary School Association (CWOSSA) championship October 24, the Lady Lancers saw their hopes for the provincial title dashed after a stellar season.
At the six-team championship series at Woodside Park last week, the EDSS contingent was ultimately eliminated in the first round by visitors from J.F. Ross in Guelph and St. Marys. St. Marys would go on to take gold at CWOSSA in a final 1-0 decision against the runner-up from Bluevale Collegiate Institute. Both teams will be progressing to the provincials later this week.
Despite the loss, the EDSS field hockey team has more than enough to celebrate, having already shattered their record over the last few years by qualifying for CWOSSA.
“We started the season expecting good things, but we ended up I would say exceeding our expectations,” said co-coach Lisa Douglas shortly before the CWOSSA championships.
“The girls discovered early on that we were going to have success, and they just kept building on it. I mean, we were excited about the WCSSA semi-finals last year, but the finals this year … certainly have given the school something to be excited about.”
Over the WCSSA season, the EDSS team held a veritable three-way tie at the top of the standings with Bluevale and Waterloo Collegiate Institute, with each team holding an identical score of 11 wins, one loss and two draws. The EDSS team made it all the way past the semi-finals of the WCSSA division before falling 1-0 to Bluevale.
Though holding an identical score with the other two top teams of the WCSSA league this year, the Lancers slipped into third place after falling in the tie-breakers. Still, they had more than qualified for a spot at the CWOSSA championships.
“So as soon as we knew we won our semi-final game, we knew we were advancing to CWOSSA. We didn’t know who we were going to play until everything finished up,” said Douglas.
It was a team effort getting as far as they did, says Douglas, but she credits the team captains, Morgan Hanley, a member of the U18 Team Ontario field hockey team, and Chantal McMurray with lending that extra drive to the other players.
“I think it began with Morgan Hanley who is now in Grade 12. She came in Grade 9 and she kind of raised the bar right from the start, just to have players around her kind of aspire to her. She’s an amazing leader as well, and I think she’s really helped build the team around her,” said Douglas.
“I would also mention our other captain Chantal McMurray. She came back for a fifth year, and she’s been an amazing leader on the team as well. She does not play field hockey outside of school, but our team would definitely not be the same without her.”
The top teams of CWOSSA will be competing at the at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) games, with the field hockey games on this weekend in Burlington.