A’s capture U15 provincial A championship
The St. Catharines Athletics captured the Ontario Lacrosse Association U15 box lacrosse provincial A championship. Photos by: DENIS CAHILL.
Everything fell into place at just the right time for the St. Catharines Athletics at the Ontario Lacrosse Association U15 box lacrosse provincial A championships.
The Athletics topped Halton Hills 7-4 to capture the championship, which coach Mark Steenhuis admitted earlier in the year looked like a long shot.
“It was an incredible year when you look back at where we were and where we are now,” Steenhuis said. “We were very up and down.
“It was incredible. The boys came so far and they all bought it. It was pretty cool.”
The Athletics advanced to the final six weekend in Whitby where they lost their first game to Halton Hills 6-1.
“I thought to myself we have some work to do here,” Steenhuis said.
The A’s then won their next two and before tying Peterborough 3-3. The A’s final game of the round-robin — the top two teams advanced to the gold medal game — was versus Burlington and the A’s needed at least a tie to advance.
“We dominated Burlington all year pretty good and were down 5-2 in the third and had to at least tie to move on. We somehow came back and scored with six seconds left,” Steenhuis said.
He marvelled at how fluky the final goal was.
“A kid was falling and threw it at the net. Hits the goalie in the chest and spin of the ball, it pops over his head and hits him in the back and goes in. It was just ridiculous. There were things like that throughout the whole year,” Steenhuis said. “It’s how it goes when you have that team and you do win it. I always tell the boys out of all the teams in Ontario, only one wins. It doesn’t mean the rest didn’t have a good season. To be that one is incredibly hard. It takes everything you got.
“It was kind of cool we achieved that and then you look back at all the weird things that did happen. For us to even be in that game was someone of a miracle that weekend.”
Riding the high of that incredible comeback, the A’s dominated the gold medal game.
“We came out like absolute animals,” Steenhuis said. “They deserved that game.”
Steenhuis loved watching the team gel together from the start of the season.
“I knew at the beginning of the year if you put our top 10 kids up against any other top 10 kids in Ontario, we’re going to be going pretty good,” he said. “It’s finding that mix and keeping everyone involved. We became a team from one to 17. No one cared what they had to do, they just did exactly what was needed.
“It was inspiring to win this and to watch them change. It made me excited as the coach.”
Steenhuis, who had a storied pro lacrosse career, didn’t begin playing lacrosse until he was in high school.
“I didn’t have the luxury of knowing this feeling, not playing minor lacrosse, but everyone I played with at the pro level that spoke about it if they had the opportunity to win if they were young, (said) it stays with them and is one of their best memories.
“They will have that bond together for the rest of their lives.”
Members of the A’s are: Harris Marshall, Owen Bartley, Cole McMann, Reif Steenhuis, Blake Berard, Alex Bedic, Alex Forrest, Auston Deary, Brady Howe, Lochlan Cahill, Dekin Hill, Kobe Genco, Mason Hancharyk, Mason Elliott, Mason Snyder, Kieran Raynor, Isaiah Paul, Owen Scarlett.
Coaches: Mark Steenhuis, Doug Lawrence, Jason Howe, Terence Cahill, Jon McMann.
Manager: Corrine Forrest.
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