Team B.C. won its first-ever Canadian Lacrosse Association female midget and bantam box lacrosse national championship titles at Bear Mountain Arena in Victoria.
The B.C. bantam team defeated Team Ontario 4-3 in the bantam gold medal final game, winning the the first-ever national title for a West Coast team last Thursday.
The Team B.C. midget girls also struck gold, doubling Team Ontario 4-2 to take the gold medal later in the day.
The two bantam teams split games in the double round robin with Ontario coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in overtime on July 30, while a day later, Team B.C. took the second match 5-3 in a dominating turn of events.
In the gold medal final, B.C. jumped out to an early 2-0 lead by goals from game MVP Keeley O'Neill of New Westminster and Megan Kinna of Ridge Meadows.
Ontario answered back to end the first period knotted at two.
The second frame was filled with great goaltending and tight defense until New West's Katie Browning scored a shorthanded marker at the 6: 30 mark of the second to recapture the lead.
Three minutes later, Elle Hamilton of Juan de Fuca restored B.C.'s twogoal lead after scoring on a breakaway to end the second period.
"It feels good to win and make history, and we did it together. It feels like a dream come true," said 14-year-old Carly Spagnuolo, the lone runner from Burnaby on the provincial bantam squad. "It feels like we accomplished something together. If feels like we won something huge as a family, and that's what we did."
Team B.C., made up of a core group of New Westminster runners including Bianca Ballarin, Monica Disanjh, Chloe Nottingham, Madisen Obrovac, Delaney Davidson and Haley Penner, continued their dominance on face-offs and loose balls pressing Ontario into forced errors. Ontario scored a late goal to make the score 4-3, but B.C. hung on for its first female bantam box lacrosse gold medal.
New West's Nicole Del Grosso was also selected to the provincial squad but did not play.
"It was awesome winning it," said New Westminster defender Nadine Stewart. "I just chucked my stuff and tackled her (the goalie). I didn't care, I just teared up."
"The building kind of went crazy. It was exciting and hard to believe in the moment," added Browning.
In the midget girls' division, B.C. won both preliminary games in the round robin, blanking Ontario 7-0 in the opening game and then winning 2-1 on a pair of by Burnaby runners, respectively.
Third-year provincial girls' team selection Jolene Robinson opened the scoring in the second match, while Amber Gilmore got the game-winner.
B.C. scored first in the final with Burnaby product Kaitlyn Yan and Squwey Gottfriedsen of Kamloops scoring single goals to give the home province a 2-0 lead in the first frame.
Yan, a 16-year-old Little Flower Academy student, gave B.C. a spark, tallying the game's first goal off a double pick at the goal crease.
"I just shot as hard as I could and it just went in," said Yan, adding hearing the final buzzer was even better. "It was really good. We were jumping on the goalie and hugging everybody. It was kind of like I was on some Olympic team."
B.C., including Courtney Kearnes and Nicole Shanks of New Westminster, went up by three on Marlo Bellamy's eventual game winner. In the third period, Jenna Chernoff of New Westminster gave B.C. a 4-1 lead before Ontario managed a late goal to make the final score 4-2 and complete Team B.C.'s gold medal sweep at the nationals.
What the team did is a pretty big thing," said the 15-year-old Gilmore. "Going to Whitby, Ont. was big, but actually coming back with a gold medal, you can't get much better than that."
B.C.'s first-ever national titles are a testament to the quality of elite coaching and the overall girls' programs throughout the province.
"Ontario will always be a scare of the tournament, but I feel our team is very strong and will continue to be very strong," said the 15-year-old Robinson.
Having a well drawn out game plan also prepared the girls well for what was ahead of them, said 13-year-old Stewart.
"We just got our heads in the game. We worked on the process - winning 75 per cent of the loose balls, faceoffs, power play goals, shortman goals - the basics," Stewart said.
Shanks also feels that the girls' program in B.C. is well on its way.
"I just think (the program) is getting better and better," added the 16-year-old Shanks. "I don't think (Ontario) really knew what hit them."