Team BC Returns Home With a Medal of Each Colour
With four BC teams competing for a medal on the last day of the U18 National Championships in Toronto, BC ended up taking a gold, a silver and a bronze medal.
The BC Boys Rams battled hard against Alberta in the bronze medal game, ultimately winning 4-2. After going up 2-0 on goals by Amraaz Dhillon and Brendan Guraliuk, the Alberta team answered back with two goals of their own to tie the game at 2.
“I think there was always that trust that we thought we were going to win the game, that positive thinking is huge for a lot of us,” explained BC Rams midfielder, Rowan Childs. “Really believing that we are the better team and that we will come through with the win.”
The Rams did just that, starting with a penalty stroke goal by Conor Henry and an insurance marker late in the game by Johnny Jacoby to give the BC Rams a 4-2 win and the bronze medal.
The BC Girls Lions were unable to land a podium finish with a 3-0 loss to Ontario West in the bronze medal game. Despite the loss, the Lions had an exceptionally strong tournament and were quite happy with their overall result.
“We weren’t even expecting to get this far, even though these games didn’t turn out the way we’d hoped we should still be really proud of what we’ve accomplished as a team,” said Allison Kuzyk, who was named to the tournament 11 for her performance this week.
After an unexpected round robin performance, where the Lions went undefeated, they narrowly missed the gold medal game with a 3-2 loss to the BC Stags. In their bronze medal game against Ontario West, who they had beaten 3-2 in a thrilling round robin match-up, the Lions didn’t quite have it in them to repeat that performance and ended up in 4th place.
Coming in as the team with lower expectations than the Stags and the Rams, this 4th place finish was quite an accomplishment for the mixed BC team, who has players coming together from all over the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Interior.
“It was really exciting, I never realized what we could do and how strong our short corners were; it really felt good to show them that we’re not just the third BC team,” explained Lions defender, Sophia Berk.
“After that Ontario game, that was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, especially winning the way we did” reflected Kuzyk. “I think the thing about our team is that we never gave up, it was so great.”
With BC guaranteed a gold medal on the girls side, the Rams and the Stags faced off for a BC showdown. The Rams, who won 2-0 when these two teams went head to head in the round robin, came out on top for a second time with a 4-0 win in the gold medal game.
“It’s not the outcome we hoped for, but I know we worked really hard to get here and we gave it all we could in the final game and that’s all you can ask for,” said Stags captain, Judy Cristante.
“We came in super hungry, we really wanted it the whole time so now that we finally have it, it feels so good,” said BC Rams’ Tessa Johnston.
After facing some early pressure from the Stags, the Rams answered back quickly and got on the board with a goal by senior player, Alissa Wong. Shortly after Bronwyn Bird extended the Rams lead to 2-0, the Stags goaltender, Tayler Guy was injured on a collision and forced to leave the game. As a result, the Stags had to complete the rest of the game with an extra player and no goaltender.
Despite a strong fight from BC’s Vancouver Island team, they were unable to bounce back from the deficit and the Rams ended up taking the gold medal with a 4-0 victory.
“We just left it all on the field,” explained Alissa Wong. “It’s the final game, there’s nothing else after this so we just left everything on the field.”
The BC Boys Lions finished in sixth place with a win over USA and a loss to Ontario East in the Consolation round. Mike Van Iderstine led the team with four goals in six games.
As the U18 National Championships draw to a close, we are beginning the last leg of this year’s Nationals with the U23 Men’s and Women’s teams getting underway in Toronto this weekend. For more information and updates, visit http://www.fieldhockey.ca/2018-national-championships/.