Redcoats head back to OFSAA seeking gold
High school field lacrosse is high on the priority list for Oliver Vanyo.
“It is very important to me,” said the starting goalie for the St. Catharines WMKL Athletics junior A lacrosse team Thursday, moments after helping the Governor Simcoe Redcoats defeat the Holy Cross Raiders 10-6 in the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association A/AA championship game at Simcoe.
“When you go somewhere for four years, you fall in love with the place,” the 19-year-old St. Catharines resident said. “Last year, we got to the (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) finals, we looked over the hill and we just came up short, I jumped on the opportunity to come back again and do it for my boys here.”
Finishing with an OFSAA silver medal was major motivation for the 12B student and his teammates.
“As soon as it happened, we started thinking about next year,” said Vanyo, who recently committed to play NCAA Division 1 field lacrosse at Lindenwood University near St. Louis. “All we have been thinking about is that last game and we have been on the group chat talking about it nonstop. It is something we have to achieve.”
Simcoe head coach Jamie Brophy agrees there is a sense of unfinished business.
“The team was disappointed after last year. It was tough to be disappointed with a silver but we thought we had gold and we are very excited to go back and try to do as best as we possibly can whether that is a gold medal or just playing our best.”
Last year’s experience will pay dividends in 2023.
“You see how many good teams there are across the province and you have to bring it every single game,” Brophy said. “If we come in mentally strong and ready to go, I think the experience of the kids who played last year will really help us this year.”
Vanyo felt there were other lessons learned as well.
“We just have to use our heads and think the game all the way through. We can’t take any time off and we have to play a full four quarters. We have to finish games out.”
The team is similar to last season’s squad.
“We lost a couple of key pieces but we brought in some new kids and a lot of the base of our team last year was Grade 10s,” Brophy said. “Now they are in Grade 11 and they bring a lot more maturity to the team.”
Vanyo echoes his coach’s comments.
“Last year we lost some key guys. We lost Tye Steenhuis and Chris Lefeuvre but what we lost on the O side, we gained on the D. I feel we have come back as good as last year. It is a good team effort and we are all bonded together.”
Vanyo will play a key role again this season at OFSAA.
“He is just such a leader from the back end. You know he is a stabilizing force and everything works through him,” Brophy said. “He is vocal on the defensive end and along with that we know we can expect a big save when it’s needed.
Brophy doesn’t see his program slowing down any time soon.
“We are hoping that this is something that we can keep building on. It is a work in progress and we are trying to become a dominant powerhouse school for years.”
Brophy felt Thursday’s final was going to be anything but a cakewalk.
“We knew Holy Cross was going to be a really good team. They are very deep and we knew we had to play our best,” he said. “We had to come out and everyone had to execute. We started off a little slow but as the game went on, we wore them down and played a strong game after that.”
Holy Cross coach Corey Quinn understood his team needed a perfect game to knock off the Redcoats. That wasn’t the case Thursday.
“We played a really good first quarter and we scared Simcoe a little bit. Then we got into a bit of penalty trouble and they made us pay. Ultimately that’s what cost us; a little bit of self control.”
That being said, Quinn was proud of his team.
“Simcoe has been the class of the league two years in a row and they are the OFSAA silver medalists. I would be tempted to find out the last time they were in a tight game (locally),” he said. “It was probably last year at SOSSA when we had them 3-3 at the half. Hats off to them. They are a great and talented team and they deserve all the accolades.”
Quinn feels his team deserves some accolades too.
“I am very happy with our team. We look down our bench and we don’t have a lot of lacrosse experience. Simcoe has a lacrosse program, a lacrosse class and a lot of their players are playing junior A and junior B,” he said. “I have got a lot of hockey players and Owen Day was our middie long pole and he never played pole before. He was making top junior A players work for it.”
REDCOATS 10 RAIDERS 6
Cat’s Caboose Player of the Game: Simcoe goalie Oliver Vanyo.
For the Governor Simcoe Redcoats: Sutter Pilon (3), Cody McNeil (3), Colton Armitage (2), Ari Steenhuis and Max D’Alosio.
For the Holy Cross Raiders: Kaleb Dietsch (2); Noah Ostromecki, Joey Young, Dylan Price and Liam Dietsch.
Up next: Governor Simcoe advances to the OFSAA A/AA field lacrosse festival June 5-6 in Peterborough.
REDCOATS 13 BULLDOGS 5
Colton Armitage, Ari Steenhuis, Cody McNeil and Sutter Pilon each scored twice helping Governor Simcoe advance to the SOSSA final with a 13-5 victory over the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs.
Liam Legault, Max D’Alosio, Quinlan Clair, Carter Dayaram and Carson Shannon added single goals for the Redcoats.
Jared Cook netted a hat trick for the Bulldogs and single goals were contributed by Simon Marshall and Easton Poirier.
RAIDERS 13 CYCLONE 4
A hat trick by Lucas Williams powered the Holy Cross Raiders to a 13-5 victory over the E.L. Crossley Cyclone in the SOSSA semifinals.
Also scoring for the Raiders were Dylan Price (2), Kaleb Dietsch (2), Joey Young (2), Noah Ostromecki (2), Jack Marotta and Liam Dietsch.
Seth Ozog scored a hat trick for the Cyclone and Reid Ozog also scored.
E.L. Crossley will be the second SOSSA bid at the OFSAA A/AA field lacrosse festival June 5-6 in Peterborough.