Red-hot Raiders dig up bronze

Lacrosse: Okotoks Midget team finishes third at Girls Rock Tournament

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 06:00 am

Okotoks Raider Malia Schneider releases a shot during the Raiders' 7-2 win over the Calgary Hornets in the bronze medal game at the Girls Rock Tournament, Sunday at the Subway Soccer Centre.
Okotoks Raider Malia Schneider releases a shot during the Raiders' 7-2 win over the Calgary Hornets in the bronze medal game at the Girls Rock Tournament, Sunday at the Subway Soccer Centre.
Remy Greer/OWW

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Never in doubt.

The Okotoks Midget Raiders were firing on all cylinders in the bronze medal game as hosts of the Girls Rock Lacrosse Tournament, cruising to a 7-2 blowout over the Calgary Hornets 1 to get on the podium on Sunday at the Subway Soccer Centre.

“The girls weren’t really disciplined, but they played good solid defence,” said Raiders head coach Clint Bymak. “Offensively they played well. It’s nice to have fun with them when you have an early lead like that. You can try other things.”

A luxury afforded to the Raiders after a dominant opening frame produced a 3-1 advantage, highlighted by a shorthanded marker from Malia Schneider and a snipe from offensive dynamo Julia Porter.

The latter would quickly add three more to start the second period, one-upping the rare natural hat-trick, with Schneider scoring on the powerplay to give Okotoks a commanding 7-1 lead at the second intermission. Calgary would get one back late in third period with the result all but sewn up already.

“We played together, were talking, we were already into the tournament and comfortable with it,” said Raider Kira Sawatzky. “That helped a lot.”

At the other end of the floor, the Hornets faced a veritable brick wall. Okotoks’ Ashley Perry, a Bantam-aged netminder, offered little for Calgary to shoot at with a clear-cut breakaway and a late consolation marker the only shots beating the steadying presence on the last line of defence.

“One of the goals that went in was just because my stick went up, but our team did really well,” Perry said. “Having my team around and them all being ready and pumped up helps me get pumped up.”

After opening the tournament via a 4-4 draw with the heavyweight Sherwood Park Titans, Okotoks fell 7-6 to the Calgary Hornets 2 before rounding out pool play in shutting out the St. Albert Rams 6-0. Okotoks’ 16-goals in round-robin was tops amongst the 10-teams in the Midget bracket.

“I don’t think we played much as a team, we didn’t pass the ball like we should have and didn’t have strong defence,” said Sawatzky on the loss. “If we moved around more and didn’t act so sluggish and tired we would have done better.”

Despite missing out on the gold medal game, the Raiders remain one of the top contenders for the provincial crown and sit with an undefeated record in the Calgary District Lacrosse Association ranks.

“We’ve played Sherwood Park in the provincial final three years in a row, they’re a strong program,” Bymak said. “And we’ll be better because we’ll have our full team.”

The tournament featured 42 teams and well over 600 athletes in four unique divisions, three of which featured Okotoks squads.

The Raiders took the seventh place game in the Bantam division by upending the Calgary Hornets 1 by a 4-1 score on Sunday. Okotoks finished with the seventh best record in the 14-team division in round-robin. The Raider lost 4-3 to the Hornets 3, took it to the Hornets 1 by a 5-1 count and were shutout 9-0 by the Sherwood Park Titans 2.

In the Novice Division, the Raiders also posted a seventh-place finish by scratching and clawing to a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Sabrecats. Okotoks was seventh in pool play with losses to the Calgary Axemen, Titans 1 and Titans 2.

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