Raiders dominate NCAA final
Lucas Williams is filling a new and important role for the Holy Cross Raiders boys field lacrosse team.
“Last year he liked to shoot a lot but he is a facilitator. The guy can bury his opportunities but as a Grade 10 he has become very unselfish and he finds other players and gives other guys opportunities to score. And when we need him to score a big goal, he can do it,” Holy Cross head coach Corey Quinn said Tuesday, after the Raiders defeated the Saint Francis Phoenix 12-3 in the Niagara Catholic Athletic Association AA championship game at Kiwanis Field.
“He is a team-first player and he looks to improve his teammates play out there. If we need him to make a play he does it and for a little guy he is not afraid to get in there and muck it up.”
The 15-year-old brings an impressive lacrosse pedigree to the field for the Raiders. He plays box and field for the St. Catharines Athletics and Hard Core and also suits up for Team Ontario in field lacrosse.
Williams has been in love with the sport since starting when he was four.
“It’s the competition and hanging with your buddies all the time,” he said. “It is a team sport and it’s not individual. You have to put everything into it and help out the weakest link. It is fun to have a team and be close.”
Williams enjoys his role with the Raiders.
“Coach calls me the quarterback of all the plays because he says that I set everything up. My main position is attack but if he needs me on D (defence) he will send me back.”
He is comfortable with his role.
“I want to go and play lacrosse somewhere and I take the responsibilities very seriously. I want to make my teammates and everybody around me better.”
Williams feels he is making good progress in the sport.
“I have been training more, working out and going to more lacrosse clinics and just being around the game and watching games and watching film. That is a big part of the game and it helps you get better.”
He feels this year’s Raiders squad has lots of resilience.
“We don’t give up easy and we have the depth. Everybody can play here and I believe in everybody that plays. We are a strong group.”
Holy Cross rolled out to a 7-0 lead after the first quarter and build it to a 12-0 advantage heading into the final quarter.
“It was nice. Our guys finally got the offence going. It had taken a few weeks to get it going but they buried their opportunities,” Quinn said. “It is nice to do it in the playoffs and finally get on a roll.”
He likes how his team is shaping up this season.
“We have a nice mix of Grade 12 veterans and Grade 10 young guys which is honestly unusual for high school. Usually it is the seniors that take the lead.”
As usual, the Raiders’ goal is to qualify for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships.
“We have been very lucky with this program. Dave Walker recently retired and he built a very good program that consistently went to OFSAA and last year we lost to Simcoe in the (Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association) finals,” Quinn said. “Our goal is to beat them sometime next week and get back to OFSAA. They are a very good team. Last year they were the class of Niagara and they are right back at it again. We are hoping to reassert ourselves up there.”
Williams likes that plan.
“Last year we got kicked out of OFSAA by Simcoe so I think we want to get revenge on them and beat them in the final.”
Saint Francis head coach Darren Macoretta tipped his cap to the Raiders.
“They are very strong and deep. We were able to keep it closer in regular season but in lacrosse you can score goals very, very quickly and they have the ability to do that,” he said. “We have a good group but they have a strong group.”
Macoretta started the lacrosse program at Saint Francis several years ago and the team has had a lot of success.
“We have put together a program that is reputable and we have won quite a few times in the past and then it’s the wave,” he said. “You get players coming through and then there are seasons where you are trying to build with some of the Grade 9s. Right now, we are losing a lot of Grade 12s and we will see what it looks like for next year.”
Macoretta was proud of this year’s version of the Phoenix.
“We stuck together, we won a tournament in Burlington and then we came up against a powerhouse and came up quite a bit short.”
Raiders 12 Phoenix 3
Cat’s Caboose Player of the Game: Holy Cross’ Joey Young with two goals and three assists.
For the Holy Cross Raiders: Young 2; Noah Ostromecki 2; Cohen Alexander 2; Dylan Price 2; Lucas Williams; Jack Marotta.
For the Saint Francis Phoenix: Mitch Pearson 2; Carter Mooradian.
Up next: Holy Cross advances to the SOSSA AA finals next Thursday at Governor Simcoe.
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