Reds one win away from OFSAA
Ethan Fisher is enjoying his final year of field lacrosse with the Denis Morris Reds.
“I am going to miss it and it is one of the reasons why I came back,” the 19-year-old said Tuesday, after scoring a hat trick to help the Reds record a 14-7 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Niagara Catholic Athletic Association AAA championship game at Kiwanis Field.
“It’s a great group of people and a great group of friends and I am really enjoying it. It has been nice.”
He feels this year’s squad is a special group.
“They are always practising even on weekends. They are always texting me to come out and play and they go for five hours at a time. They really want it too.”
The 19-year-old has been a central figure in the success of the Denis Morris squad. When he was in Grade 9, he scored the game-winning goal with five seconds left to give the Reds a victory over Notre Dame in the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association championship game.
That year was the last time Denis Morris qualified for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships and Fisher would love nothing more than to make a return visit in his 12B year.
“It is very important. It would be awesome because it is a really fun time and you are competing against the best in Ontario. It is obviously special,” the team captain said.
The defence and transition player for the St. Catharines junior A lacrosse team feels field lacrosse helps him in the box game.
“I don’t go away to school and this is also a way to keep a stick in my hand while playing with my friends. There is some good competition out here and you are playing against some good people.”
Denis Morris head coach Matt Vinc loves having the future Niagara College electrical student on his team.
“It’s great any time you have a guy that plays junior A and can play in a lot of different roles. He can play defence, he can play attack and he can play midfield. It does a lot for a high school team, especially with him being a 12B. It gives us that veteran presence and I think a lot of the guys look up to him. He is almost like another coach on the field.”
Leading just 5-4 at the half, Vinc made sure his players knew what was at stake, namely a chance to earn a spot at OFSAA.
“We have a lot of hockey guys who have been there before but it is new to several of players and when you have that opportunity in Grade 12 you don’t want to look back and think that maybe you didn’t play your best game in the big moments,” he said. “I like the way we came back in the second half and took control of the game.We wanted that opportunity to keep playing.”
Vinc feels the future is bright for DM lacrosse.
“We have a lot of Grade 9s and 10s which is really promising for our team, with the exception of Ethan Fisher and a couple of Grade 12s,” he said. “I think a lot more of our field lacrosse experience comes from our younger guys which bodes well for our team. Cody Rudderham plays a lot and all of our attack guys are in Grade 10 or 11.”
Notre Dame went into the NCAA final with a game plan it hoped would work.
“We played a simple style of lacrosse and tried to minimize turnovers and mistakes. We knew that we were a bit thin on the bench and we are very young this year,” Notre Dame head coach Mark Iannizzi said. “When we were able to minimize turnovers we were actually in the game. Hats off to DM. They are deep and they have some experience and when we did make a mistake, they made us pay for it.”
He was happy with the progress his team made this season.
“A lot of guys stepped up for us who are on their Grade 9 years and I am looking forward to seeing them next year as they grow and get better as lacrosse players.”
Reds 14 Irish 7
Cat’s Caboose Player of the Game: Denis Morris’ Ethan Fisher with a hat trick.
For the Denis Morris Reds: Fisher 3; Nathan DiPietro 3; Cody Rudderham 2; Evan Purcer-Kondusky 2; Ethan Bolibruck; Tyler Thompson; Owen Cooper; Liam Larocque.
For the Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Adam Ponting 4; Riley Smith 2; Rylan Layder.
Up next: Denis Morris advances to the SOSSA AAA finals next Thursday at Youngs Sportsplex in Welland.
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