With two of their three teams advancing to the provincial finals for the second straight year and another Island title to the club’s credit, it’s safe to say Oceanside Buccaneers field lacrosse has gone from fledgling to frontrunners in the span of one season.
In action down at UVic turf fields last Sunday at the same time, it was do-or-die for the U12 Bucs in their wildcard game. Meanwhile, the U14s were looking to run the table on their Vancouver Island Field Lacrosse (VIFL) campaign and lock up the Island banner.
Both teams accomplished what they set out to do.
The U14 Buccaneers kept their unbeaten streak alive and claimed their Tier 2 Island title with a solid 9-3 win over Mid-Island.
“We started flat, maybe a little nervous,” Bucs’ head coach Tim Clermont said.
Mid-Isle opened the scoring but Oceanside took a 2-1 lead into the half.
“We didn’t really kick into gear until the third quarter,” said Clermont, “and then once we got a few by them we settled down and played our game.”
Attack Ryan Gillard led the team, scoring the first two goals and later completing the hat trick.
Jorie Clermont struck for two goals and owned the face-off circle, which allowed his team to retain possession. Johnny Grey potted a pair in the fourth quarter, while Liam Lowrey and Hunter Gackstatter added singles.
Also earning props for his multiple assists was Chase Van Dyke “who set up some nice plays.”
Buccaneers’ goalie Jamie McKay was solid, “he kept us in the game in the first half when we weren’t scoring.”
“I like our chances,” Clermont said about the provincials, adding, “we just have to be careful not to go in over-confident. Our record is 15-0 but that means nothing going into provincials as we have to play top notch teams from the Lower Mainland and elsewhere.”
IN ACTION at the same time on the field next door, the U12 Bucs blasted Victoria #3, 13-4 for the third and final berth into the B.C.s.
“They did awesome,” co-coach Cam Miller said when The News caught up with him. “They took the pressure of facing elimination.”
“I mean if they lost they were done, and they just took it to the other team. They showed they had the heart and the will to do it.”
Kolby Antonelli and Garrett Bell paced the Bucs with a hat trick each, Anthony Ashby and Aidan Probyn potted two apiece, and Nathan Armstrong, Mitchell Hess, Kaleb Vivier added singles.
The seven different scorers punctuated the win by committee.
“For sure,” said Miller. “They did, like, unreal passing. It was pretty sweet to watch, and I think Anthony had, like, four assists too.”
First year player and U10 call-up Ethan Bell was solid in net.
The U12 Bucs finished 5-10 overall in their regular season and placed third on the Island.
Worth noting is that it was just last season that John Shafi, Oceanside Youth Lacrosse vice-president in charge of field lacrosse, and some other like-minded volunteers, stepped up and helped resurrect the sport. Oceanside has a long and successful history of field lacrosse, but failed to field a team two years ago.
“We started from scratch basically … we kind of got it going again,” said Shafi, who helps coach both the U12s and U14s. “It’s a fantastic feeling knowing that two of our teams have advanced beyond all expectations. Earning a spot in the provincials is always a great accomplishment, and winning an Island title always feels good.”
Both Buccaneer teams now set their sights on the eight-team provincials Feb. 17-19 back at UVic. The B.C.s are broken into two pools of four with only the top two in each pool advancing to the medal rounds.