Career sweep for lax 96/97s

It may be just the beginning for a talented core of New Westminster 1996/97born lacrosse players.

The under-16 boys' team won their sixth provincial lacrosse title as a group, including their third field lacrosse banner, following an 11-4 victory over favoured and regular season champion Port Coquitlam Saints in the gold-medal final in Victoria on Monday.

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"PoCo has certainly had our number, but our boys stepped it up on Day 2. The boys decided it wasn't for them. It was the best I've seen them play," said u16 coach Warren Goss.

After going 11 on the first day of competition, New West faced arguably the top-two programs on the second day - PoCo and Pac Rim - which had defeated the Saints in a previous tournament earlier in the season.

New West pipped both clubs, edging the Saints 64 before turning aside Pac Rim 12-5 later in the day.

With a berth into the championship all locked up, New West surrendered a 5-2 defeat to the eventual bronze medallists, Adanacs.

But in the final it was all New West with eight separate players contributing at least one goal to the championship win over PoCo.

"It was a wonderful weekend and everyone stepped up. Every kid had a role and executed it perfectly," Goss added.

Nikolas Lund-Murray was named the u-16 tournament MVP, while Drew Belgrave was the game MVP in the final game.

Mitchell Stokes, who together with Ryan Wilkinson dominated the loose balls, was named the team's fair play winner.

The u-16 team, including Owen Ballance, Nolan Duncan, Keanu Fernandez, Sean Fitzsimmons, Mitch Flintoff, Jesse Gastaldo, Max Gerhardt, Hayden Goss, Dalton Lupul, Preston Lupul, Nathan Macedo, Kalan MacKay, Tommy Robertson, Connor Robinson and Mathew Sweeney, has defeated Port Coquitlam in one box and two previous field provincial finals.

"We just appealed to their heart and said, 'Don't let (the opportunity) slip away and they didn't," said Goss. "This group has done something amazing over the years." New West's u-12 team rode a six-game winning streak through the provincials before bowing in the banner final 5-3 to the Adanacs.

The loss in the championship final game was the first this season for the first-years.

"It was just one of those days. We didn't have our best game," said u-12 head coach Rich Catton.

New West trailed by as many as two goals in the final against the Adanacs.

"We had opportunities. We just didn't finish on our shots," Catton added. "They had the opportunity to play ball possession and they're very well coached. But we hope to see them again soon."

Earlier in the preliminary round, the first-year Royal City side eked out a 4-3 win over the Coquitlam team. New West also defeated the A's four times during the regular season.

"That's sports. You have to be your best every day," Catton said.

In the team's five other victories at the provincials, New West allowed a combined six goals, including an 8-1 win over Pacific Rim, a 6-1 victory over Victoria and an 11-1 triumph over Langley. Cole Catton was the u-12's fair play winner.

The u-14 New Westminster team lost 8-4 to the Adanacs in the bronze-medal final.

New West, including fair play winner Sterling Tambolne, chalked up two wins in preliminary round play. New Westminster's Russel Thomas was named the u-14 Tier 1 fair play coach.

tberridge@royalcityrecord.com

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