A love for lacrosse, and the common goal of winning a national gold medal, brought bantam-aged female lacrosse players together to form Team BC.
They came away as Canadian champions after beating Ontario 4-3 in the gold medal game Aug. 9 at Iroquois Park in Whitby Ontario.
The win at the 2014 Warrior Bantam Girls Lacrosse Championship of Canada, held Aug. 6-9 in Whitby, was historic.
This marks the first time a bantam girls lacrosse team from B.C. has ever won a national title outside of its home province.
Raachel Beaulieu, Natalie Rathler, Hailey Taylor, and Carrigan Rose, all from the Langley Minor Lacrosse Association, were members of the national champion team.
Team BC head coach Chris Gill said the key to victory was playing as a team and focusing on defence.
Gill said the teamâ€™s strength was â€œour ability to buy in as a team to our systems and follow through. We had very athletic girls with great skills and lacrosse smarts.â€
Playing two games in three days was the biggest challenge for his players, Gill noted.
â€œThe parity in the bantam division made it even tougher,â€ he added.
â€œThe coaches were extremely proud of the commitment and effort of the girls. They deserved to win in our minds,â€ Gill said. â€œAssistant coach Geordie Dean has won multiple Mann Cups [national senior A menâ€™s titles] and told me after, that this was the best championship he was a part of because his daughter was part of it. The entire ride, from tryouts to celebrating the national championship, is something I will never forget and the girls will always remember this experience. It was a blast.â€
The Langley playersâ€™ teammates hailing from north of the Fraser River were a factor in the final.
Mykhaela Johnson from Ridge Meadows scored B.C.â€™s third and fourth goals. Ashleigh Lesser from Ridge Meadows opened the scoring for Team BC, with Port Coquitlamâ€™s Cassandra Gill netting the second marker.
B.C. opened the tournament with a 3-1 loss to Alberta on Aug. 6. This setback was followed by wins of 3-1 over Ontario, also on Aug. 6, and 12-0 over Nova Scotia and 9-2 over Alberta on Aug. 7.
Then, on Aug. 8, B.C. lost 4-3 to Ontario before trouncing Nova Scotia 13-1.
Rose, a 14-year-old goaltender, said it didnâ€™t take long for Team BC to come together.
â€œYou make a lot of new friends and they become like your family,â€ Rose said. â€œYou meet a lot of girls from other places who share the same dream that you have, and thatâ€™s to win the gold. We started off kind of like as individuals, then we worked together to become a team.â€
Between the pipes, Rose had to adjust to some skilled shooters.
â€œI feel like I had a really good tournament, considering that all these girls can shoot at the nationals,â€ she said. â€œWhen you play club there are only a couple of girls who can [shoot].â€
Butterflies were apparent going into the championship game, Roe said.
â€œThe final was really intimidating going in. We felt like a lot of pressure,â€ she said. â€œIt was the biggest game anybodyâ€™s ever played in. But we all just got really calm and didnâ€™t let the other team get to us.â€
FINAL BUZZER: There are two national champions in the Rose household. Carriganâ€™s brother Roman was the alternate goalie with the national champion Team BC midget boys squad.