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Rage Midget Girls win provincials

The Rockyview Rage got better with age this season, despite its collectively young and inexperienced squad of players.

The Rockyview Rage got better with age this season, despite its collectively young and inexperienced squad of players.

The Midget girls lacrosse team won the provincial title in Edmonton on July 18, after finishing second in its league and third in the playoffs earlier this summer.

Rockyview beat the Beaumont Raiders 3-2 in the final to claim gold, even though half of the Rage players had never held a lacrosse stick at the start of the season.

“Right from the get-go our goal was to win gold,” said Rage head coach Ken Crossley. “We’ve got a good core group of girls that have been playing for quite a few years. That was certainly a key factor, but one of the big things that helped us during the season were some new players who took to the game very strongly.”

The team had a number of players from Airdrie, Cochrane and Crossfield on its roster, and regardless of the overall experience level, most of the girls already knew each other, something Crossley said helped with team chemistry.

“They were an easy bunch to coach and these girls focused when it was time to focus,” he said.

The provincial tournament had five teams competing for top spot: Beaumont, the Edmonton city champions, St. Albert, Edmonton, Calgary and Rockyview. They competed in a round-robin format, where the Rage went 4W-0L to finish atop the standings.

This set up a re-match against the second-place Beaumont team, who the Rage beat in overtime during the round-robin.

“I think the girls were hoping we would play a different team, as they knew how tough Beaumont was,” Crossley said.

During the final, the Rage had a 2-1 lead with a power play and less than five minutes left to play. It was a perfect scenario to kill the clock and push for an insurance marker, but the Raiders had other plans.

“We thought we could get a goal and make it 3-1, then we got a bad bounce of the boards to set up a breakaway and a shorthanded goal for Beaumont,” Crossley said. “It was tough, but they re-focused really quick and that made a big difference.”

After Beaumont scored, Crossley called a timeout, as there was still a minute left on the man advantage.

“I drew up a play, and it didn’t necessarily work, but we did get a goal and it turned out to be the winning goal,” he said.

The Rage’s playoff team featured players Vanessa Alberda, Tara Kowalsky, Gabrielle Murray, Karen McPeak, Jessie Crossley, Alix Jacob, Taylor Clark, Annissa Robertson-Coish, Jade Walsh, Sage Petros, Shaelyn Lewis, Courtney Hanger, Dakota Davidson, Cora McEachern and Kassidy Forsen.

The Rage’s regular season lineup also featured a number of other players who couldn’t make the provincial tournament for a variety of reasons. They include: Jayden Allum, Jennifer Cook, Leisha Hitchings, Rachel Wardell and Kelsey Fraser.

They entered as the youngest team in the tournament, as they sent mostly 15-year-olds and a number of 14-year-olds, while most of the other teams featured several 16-year-olds.

But Crossley also said this proved to be a successful formula and one that will already help set them up for the chance at defending its title next season.

“We’re really excited about next year because we have so many young players and we’re looking to repeat – that’s our goal,” he said.

“The focus of the team was to develop a bunch of new players and really to get the program back. That really made the difference for the success of the team and it was a great year.”

Airdrie City View Staff

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