Oceanside’s two upstart field lacrosse teams will be up and running this weekend, having fun but focused on fine-tuning their games in preparation for the upcoming playoffs.
The fact Oceanside fielded one team, let alone two this year, is because of the efforts of John Shafi and Tim Clermont who salvaged the season when it looked like there wasn’t going to be one, and cleared the way for 31 — 29 boys and two girls, every one of them first year players — to experience this country’s’ national summer sport.
The U12s finished first in their Tier 2 league, and the U14s second. The U12s have already secured a berth in the B.C.s, and the U14s have a good shot at the provincials as well.
In the meantime, the U14 Bucs will face North Island on Sunday down at Parksville Community Park for games at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., while Shafi and his U12 Bucs will host the Mid-Island Thunder for a day of skills, drills and
Mid Island needs to beat Pac Rim 2 Jan. 30 to play Oceanside, who finished first in the four-team VIYFLL Tier 2 standings at 13-3, in the Island finals.
The U14s open the playoffs in Parksville Jan. 30 against Pac Rim, with the team scoring the most goals advancing to the Island finals Feb. 12 at UVic against North Island.
“We will be nice to our rivals this weekend, but all bets are off for the Island Championships,” said Clermont, said the Island final “will be a one game winner-take-all and be on turf, something we have not experienced as yet,” adding, “our guys want to win bad.”
As for ‘sleeping with the enemy,’ Shafi said he’s been co-operating with Mid-Island in an effort “to get all our skills up a notch or two in anticipation of the provincials.”
“I want to build the level of sportsmanship and skill up on the Island, period,” said John, adding, “I still want to win against them on February 12th or 13th in the Island final (slated for Parksville Community Park), but overall I am hoping that either or both teams bring home the hardware from the provincials.”